Market commentary: Tech stocks take the stage

The same day China reported its weakest GDP growth in 24 years and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its global growth forecasts for 2015, the European markets recorded their fourth straight day of gain; while US markets also managed to swing in positive territory after opening lower on the back of global growth’s concerns and a large drop in oil prices.

While the majority of the energy sector was posting losses, the tech industry rallied overweighing the negative impact of the oil’s resumed fall and helped US markets to reverse an initial negative opening. The S&P 500 Technology Index posted a resilient 1.64% supported by gains across the board, while tech predominated Nasdaq 100 Index also rose 0.70%, fuelled by earnings reports from major company such as Netflix, IMB and AMD, other large stocks such Facebook, Apple and Alibaba adding between 1.5% and 3.50%.

Netflix was the major winner of the day after reporting earnings that beat expectations, posting a Q4 EPS of $0.72 cent per share (against estimates of $0.45 per share) and revenue at $ 1.48 billion in line with analysts’ forecasts. In addition, the Company announced a solid subscribers’ growth, adding 1.90 million new users in the US and 2.43 million international users, largely surpassing the higher end of the range previously estimated. The stock added 3.40% during regular trading, while jumping over 16% in after-hours trading to $404.69 a share.

Alibaba, also posted a resilient session gaining as much as 3.25%, recovering the majority of the value lost over the four immediate previous trading sessions. With at market capitalization of $241.42 billion, the Chinese company confirmed to have become major player in the market able to influence the direction of the Nasdaq itself.

Apple Inc., the largest company on record, rose 2.58% helping the Nasdaq to close in positive territory, while ending a four-day downward trend and partially recouping the losses recorder in the recent trading sessions.

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), the largest technology service provider, also reported its Q4 results yesterday, with EPS of $5.81 per share (beating expectations of $5.41 per share) and disappointing revenues, which came in at $24.11 billion, a double digit decrease from the same period a year earlier.

The Company said to remain committed to cost containment and a push into cloud related services and products and cyber security related businesses; however, this strategy, despite being perceived by analysts as a potentially winning strategy in the long term, it is taking its toll on short term profitability and revenue generation. The stock dropped 2% on this news and on disappointing guidance, managing to recover in the second half of the trading session and to close flat on the day.

Ebay is due to report today after the closing of the markets, with analysts quite bearish on the Company’s prospects, estimating that Marketplace will continue to experience deteriorating fundaments and that PayPal may be the only growth area. This widespread belief is putting back in the spot light rumors about a potential spin-off of PayPal unit that would provide fresh cash to Company and would allow Ebay to capitalize on the current momentum and growth implied valuation of its e-payment division.

This article was issued by Paolo Zonno Trader/Analyst at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt . The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri & Co. Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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