Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
After starting the first three trading sessions of 2014 down 151 points, or 0.91%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) is fighting back today, gaining 113 points, or 0.69%, as of 1 p.m. EST. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also began 2014 poorly, respectively opening today down 1.16% and 1.5% for the year, but have increased by 0.61% and 0.88% by early afternoon.
One piece of major economic news that could be helping to push stocks higher was Monday's Senate confirmation of Janet Yellen as the next Federal Reserve chair. Yellen is seen to be rather dovish, and many believe she will sustain central bank policies seen under Chairman Ben Bernanke after his departure at the end of January. This kind of familiarity would be welcomed by Wall Street and most investors.
One Dow component having a solid day is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), up 2.22%. The move comes after RBC upgraded the stock from sector perform to outperform. The analyst believes J&J's pharmaceutical business will continue to deliver above-average revenue growth. With a company as large as Johnson & Johnson it is very difficult to find even one unit that can produce growth above the 3% range, but the company's pharmaceutical unit has recently done just that. While this is just another analyst opinion, I tend to believe the company will see strong growth from that unit over the next few years.
Outside the Dow, the mighty Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is having a rough day. The stock has lost more than $20 per share, or 5.6%. The decline comes after an analyst at Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight and cut the price target from $333 to $310. Scott Devitt said he believes that increased competition from Amazon.com, HBO, Hulu, and others pose a serious threat to Netflix. While Netflix may have the largest catalog of streaming shows and movies at this time, the competition and price tag for new content is increasing. Amazon, for example, has a much larger resource to pull funds from than Netflix, so if that content battle does play out, Netflix could be on the losing end of the stick.
Another downgrade victim today is fashion designer and retailer Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) which is off by 3.45%. Citigroup lowered its previous buy rating to neutral based on valuation. Over the past 52 weeks the stock is up nearly 55%, so the valuation has been stretched, but so have earnings during that time period. The stock trades at 32 times earnings, with a future expected P/E of 22. When we look around the fashion world shares of lululemon athletica trade at 30 times, Under Armour is at 63 times, and while Michael Kors' closest competitor Coach is only trading at 15 times past earnings, Coach has seen a dramatic slowdown to its growth over the past few quarters. Michael Kors is still a growth company and so will trade at a premium to the market and carry a higher valuation. If investors believe the company can't continue its impressive growth, than they should sell, but not just because the valuation looks a little high.
Regardless of whether you agree with with these upgrades and downgrades, investors need to remember that they are just the opinions of a few individuals and not guaranteed to happen. It is always best to take a number of differing opinions into consideration before making a buy or sell call, and a Wall Street analyst shouldn't carry more weight than anyone else.
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Fool contributor Matt Thalman owns shares of Amazon.com, Johnson & Johnson, Lululemon Athletica, and Michael Kors Holdings. Check back Monday through Friday as Matt explains what caused the Dow's winners and losers of the day, and every Saturday for a weekly recap. Follow Matt on Twitter @mthalman5513.
The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, Coach, Johnson & Johnson, Lululemon Athletica, Michael Kors Holdings, Netflix, and Under Armour. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Coach, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, and Under Armour. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.