Netflix Rises as 2018 FAANG Leader Closes out Year With a Rally

January 1, 2019 Updated: January 2, 2019

Netflix Inc. rallied on Dec. 31, with the year’s best-performing FAANG stock on track to close out 2018 on a positive note.

Shares gained as much as 5.5 percent in their fourth-straight daily advance, a period over which they have risen more than 14 percent. The S&P 500 is up about 6 percent over the same period.

While the video-streaming company is down more than 30 percent from its most recent record in June, Netflix remains on track for a gain of nearly 40 percent in 2018.

The rally makes Netflix this year’s top performer among the FAANGs, a group of technology and Internet stocks that also includes Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Inc., and Google parent Alphabet Inc. Facebook is the worst performer of the group, down more than 25 percent this year. Of the five, only Amazon is set to join Netflix by ending the year in positive territory, with a gain of almost 30 percent.

Each of the components has been extremely volatile of late, with steep moves in both directions. However, the trend in the fourth quarter has generally been lower. The group has come under pressure as investors reassess the growth prospects and valuations of the long-time market leaders.

Company-specific issues have also weighed on the stocks, with Facebook struggling amid a number of controversies, Apple seeing signs of weaker iPhone demand and both Amazon and Alphabet reporting sales that missed analyst estimates in their most recent quarter.

Despite the weakness in its stock price, Netflix has largely avoided such issues. Earlier last month, MKM Partners said the company was “ as strong as ever” and forecast 30 percent annual returns for the next five years.

The performance of the FAANG stocks on Dec. 31—the final trading day of 2018—mirrored their performance throughout the year. Facebook was the weakest, down about 2 percent. Amazon was behind Netflix with a roughly 2 percent gain. Apple was slightly higher on the day, while Alphabet was down less than 1 percent.

By Ryan Vlastelica

From Bloomberg