Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today's 3 Best Stocks

It was certainly an interesting day, with emphasis on the word "interesting." A midday hack of the Associated Press' Twitter feed sent the markets tumbling in eye-blinking fashion after a fake tweet involving two bombings at the White House were made. The report and tweet were quickly debunked, and the markets regained all of their lost ground, but it was something on the nature of a mini-flash crash.

When the markets weren't focused on the ongoing security issues with high-profile Twitter accounts, they were paying attention to key second-quarter earnings reports and new-home sales from the homebuilding sector. Both succeeded in pushing the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) higher, as the majority of S&P 500 companies are beating on EPS, and new-home sales pushed higher by 1.5% in March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 417,000.

Following the shenanigans, the S&P 500 finished higher by 16.28 points (1.04%) to close at, 1,578.78. In spite of the strong move higher, earnings news and economic data helped push these three stocks much higher than the S&P's roughly 1% gain.

The star of the day was streaming content provider Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) which shot out of a cannon for a second-straight quarter, advancing 24.4%, after reporting better-than-expected first-quarter results. For the quarter, Netflix tacked on 2 million domestic streaming subscribers and an additional 1 million internationally to boost its worldwide subscriptions to 36.3 million. DVD subscriptions dropped by 241,000. Revenue jumped to $1.02 billion from $869 million in the year-ago period and profit of $0.31 per share. Wall Street had only been looking for a profit of $0.19. In spite of these strong results, and a multitude of price target increases by brokerage firms, I stand firm in my assessment that Netflix is grossly overvalued and would recommend caution with the stock now over $215.

5 Best Heal Care Stocks To Invest In Right Now

Handbag and accessories maker Coach (NYSE: COH  ) shook off the rust and leapt 9.8% after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter results. Shares surged as buyers returned to what had been a weak domestic market in recent months. North American sales rose 7% to $792 million, while sales in China soared 40%. Overall, Coach reported revenue of $1.19 billion and EPS of $0.84 -- 10% higher than the year-ago period. Wall Street had projected a profit of only $0.80 on $1.18 billion in sales. Coach has incredible brand value and a perfect price niche that puts it within most people's budgets, as this report showed. It may have significant long-term upside even following today's beat.

Finally, homebuilding stocks Lennar (NYSE: LEN  ) and PulteGroup (NYSE: PHM  ) both jumped notably higher following the aforementioned strong new-home sales data. Lennar managed to outdo PulteGroup by a hair -- 6.9% versus 6% -- but the thesis for the sector remains the same: Stronger home sales and less inventory will lead to higher selling prices and better homebuilding margins. If homebuilders can keep from flooding the market with supply they have a pretty decent shot at maintaining their pricing power. The question is, can they resist the temptation?

Can Netflix head even higher?
The tumultuous performance of Netflix shares since the summer of 2011 has caused headaches for many devoted shareholders. While the company's first-mover status is often viewed as a competitive advantage, the opportunities in streaming media have brought some new, deep-pocketed rivals looking for their piece of a growing pie. Can Netflix fend off this burgeoning competition, and will its international growth aspirations really pay off? These are must-know issues for investors, which is why The Motley Fool has released a premium report on Netflix. Inside, you'll learn about the key opportunities and risks facing the company, as well as reasons to buy or sell the stock. The report includes a full year of updates to cover critical new developments, so make sure to click here and claim a copy today.

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