Por Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com — U.S. stock markets opened lower on Friday, as a warning from Netflix (NASDAQ:) about slowing subscriber growth sent a jolt to an already sharply appreciating tech sector.
At 9:45 ET (1445 GMT), the tech sector was down another 151 points, or 1.1%, while the was down 0.6%. He fell 80 points, or 0.2%, to 35,636.
For the Nasdaq, that represents a seven-month low, while the S&P and Dow are at three- and two-month lows, respectively.
In the case of Netflix shares, the morning confirmed the worst fears of the overnight session, as the giant of the streaming lost almost a quarter of its value, or 22.4%, after predicting that it will only add 2.5 million net subscribers worldwide in the current quarter. This figure is well below its own previous forecasts and the rate at which it was adding subscribers before the pandemic, suggesting that the boom in streaming of the last two years has ended.
Compared to other tech stocks that are feeling the heat, Netflix has at least a few benefits to point out. Its earnings, at $1.33 per share, far exceeded forecasts. Yet they still leave the stock trading – as of Thursday’s close – at more than 45 times 12-month earnings, a painfully high ratio for a company that appears to be increasingly struggling with market saturation and competition. .
Netflix has joined the growing ranks of companies whose pandemic-era profits have been almost completely undone. The stock has not traded this low since April 2020, when the streaming seemed to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of pandemic-driven changes in consumer behavior.
Those behavior patterns are – to a large extent – beginning to return to normal. Reports on Thursday of a production halt at Peloton (NASDAQ:) Interactive to clear unsold inventory also sent shares of Peloton down a quarter. A clarification from the company, which continues to point to an across-the-board cost cut and downsizing of its ambitions, helped the stock rally 5.0% in early trading on Friday.
There was better news from Intel (NASDAQ:), which announced that it will build the first $20 billion phase of what could be a multi-plant in Ohio, a move that will shorten its supply chains and help eliminate supply bottlenecks. bottle in the semiconductor industry. The confidence implicit in his decision helped Intel shares gain 2.0%.
Elsewhere, shares of Schlumberger (NYSE:) also succumbed to some profit-taking, despite the oil-services giant beating expectations with its fourth-quarter earnings and forecasting a “substantial increase” in capital spending. this year by oil and gas companies as high prices rebalance the sector’s risk-reward outlook. Schlumberger shares fell 2% but are up more than 20% since the start of the year.
Gasoline prices remain near seven-year highs, though they have fallen in the past 24 hours after new data showed US gasoline stocks continued to rise for the third week in a row. That, along with jobless claims data on Thursday, suggested the economy is softening slightly due to the current wave of the Omicron variant of Covid-9. Most analysts expect that impact to be temporary: In Europe, where the new variant arrived before the US, the UK, France and Ireland, among others, are relaxing social distancing restrictions, with most of countries consider that they have already passed the peak of infections.