Tech stocks were the clear Wall Street winners on Wednesday – thanks to a well-received earnings report from Netflix (NFLX). Its shares added to Tuesday’s big gains, jumping 7.4% after the video streaming giant reported a bottom-line beat in the second quarter, as well as a slimmer-than-expected subscriber loss.
As such, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped 1.6% to 11,897 – easily outpacing the S&P 500 Index (+0.6% at 3,959) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.2% at 31,874) in today’s trading.
While most eyes were on Netflix, there were other notable headlines, including a report from the National Association of Realtors that showed sales of existing homes fell 5.4% sequentially in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.12 million. This marked the fifth-straight monthly decline in existing homes sales and the weakest rate since June 2020.
But home prices rose. Specifically, the median home price in the U.S. rose 13.4% year-over-year in June, to a record $416,000.
“Existing home sales continue to slide as the consumer pulls back amid multi-decade lows in affordability,” says Peter Essele, head of portfolio management for Commonwealth Financial Network. “The combined effect of rising financing costs and home prices is starting to have a real impact on the real estate market, with upward price momentum likely to stall in the second half of the year as supply greatly outpaces demand. Budgets are tighter than ever as the consumer combats runaway inflation, and housing is one area that’s falling victim to waning demand.”
Other news in the stock market today:
- The small-cap Russell 2000 gained 1.6% to 1,827.
- U.S. crude futures fell 0.9% to finish at $99.88 per barrel.
- Gold futures slipped 0.6% to settle at $1,700.20 an ounce.
- Biogen (BIIB) fell 5.8% following its earnings report. In the second quarter, BIIB saw revenue fall 7% year-over-year to $2.6 billion as sales of the company’s spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) drug Spinraza declined 14% amid increased competition. Additionally, Biogen’s Alzheimer’s treatment, Aduhelm, took in just $100,000 in sales over the three-month period, down from $1.6 million in sales one year ago. Still, total revenue beat analysts’ consensus estimate, as did BIIB’s earnings of $5.25 per share.
- Baker Hughes (BKR) was another post-earnings loser, shedding 8.3% in the wake of its results. The oil and gas equipment company posted adjusted earnings of 11 cents per share, well below the 22 cents per share analysts, on average, were expecting. Revenue of $5.1 billion also fell short of the consensus estimate. “The demand outlook for the next 12 to 18 months is deteriorating, as inflation erodes consumer purchasing power and central banks aggressively raise interest rates to combat inflation,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of Baker Hughes, in the company’s press release.
Bitcoin’s Back, Baby!
Also drawing attention today was Bitcoin, as the cryptocurrency continued its recent rally. Bitcoin hit a one-month peak of $24,265 today before easing back to the $23,665 price point. (Bitcoin markets don’t close; price taken at 4 p.m. ET.) It is now up 26% from its late-June low near $18,800.
“The last week has seen Bitcoin shrug off bouts of risk aversion in the broader markets and then outperform in periods of positivity,” says Craig Erlan, senior market analyst at currency data provider OANDA. “Perhaps it’s a relief rally at the newsflow not deteriorating further. Or a final push at creating a bottom. Whatever it is, Bitcoin has hit a five-week high and that may start tempting people back in.”
The recent volatility in Bitcoin reminds us that it and other digital currencies remain highly speculative assets that only those with strong stomachs for risk should consider. Still, for those who want to get more acquainted with the space, try brushing up on the most popular cryptocurrencies or the top crypto mining stocks.
Investors will also want to learn the ins and outs of decentralized finance, also known as DeFi, which is a growing collection of financial tools built on top of the blockchain, the same technology that powers crypto. Here, we’ve compiled a “DeFi Dictionary” – a primer to help you become familiar with this new frontier of finance. Check it out.
Karee Venema was long AMZN as of this writing.