Gold-maggedon has arrived! Traders were rudely awakened today to find most metals under serious pressure on the heels of Cyprus' plans to sell part of its gold bullion to cover its $13 billion bailout, and word from China that its first-quarter GDP grew by "just" 7.7%. Although that was higher than China's own projections of 7.5% GDP growth, it was a step back from the 7.9% GDP growth in the fourth-quarter and a discouraging move backward in light of China's plans to boost infrastructure spending, and thus metals usage.
Between gold's better than $200-per-ounce tumble over the past two days -- its worst percentage drop since 1980 -- and China's GDP figures, the broad-based S&P 500 (^GSPC 0.01%) endured one of its roughest days all year, tumbling 36.49 points (-2.30%) to finish at 1,552.36. Even given today's dismal metals market performance, and the fact that just seven of the 500 companies finished higher within the index, three stocks still managed to shine to the upside.
Mobile-service provider Sprint Nextel (S) was today's biggest bright spot, advancing 13.5% after DISH Network (DISH 1.32%) offered to buy Sprint for $25.5 billion. DISH plans to pay for the deal with $4.76 per share in cash and the remaining in stock worth 0.05953 shares of DISH. The final tally works out to about $7 per share and sets DISH and SoftBank, which previously bid to take a majority stake in Sprint, up for a bidding war. Sprint has yet to comment on the deal, but shareholders have to be loving this after years of disappointing results.
Life-sciences company Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE) had an equally nice day, jumping 7.5% after agreeing to be purchased by Thermo Fisher Scientific for $13.6 billion. The deal works out to a $76-per-share purchase price and is probably much higher than any private-equity firm would have offered or agreed to pay for Life Technologies. If you recall, I'm a huge fan of genome analysis with regard to personalizing cancer research and treatments, so I think Thermo Fisher is getting a great deal and a big boost to its bottom line over the long run.
Finally, content-streaming king Netflix (NFLX 1.56%) rose 1.9% after an analyst at BTIG Research initiated coverage on the company with a "buy" rating and $250 price target, implying roughly 40% upside to Friday's close. The covering analyst, Rich Greenfield, expects an improved price-to-value comparison to boost Netflix's subscriber growth and reduce its churn rate. However, considering the big run it's already had, coupled with the fact that streaming margins are only half as tasty as DVD margins, I'm going to have to once again pass on the bullishness surrounding Netflix.