Wall Street suffered another huge slump in prices after an unexpected rise in gasoline supplies dropped the price of crude oil nearly 6% to 11-year lows, some worrisome news emerged from China and a nuclear test bomb was exploded in North Korea.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported an increase of 10.1 million barrels of gasoline last week, the biggest rise in about 13 years. Tensions in the Middle East are also contributing to declines in oil prices.
Traders were also focusing on events in China, where the People’s Bank of China lowered the midpoint 1.9% for the yuan vs the U.S. dollar, and the services sector continued a slowing of expansion, lending further credence to the idea of a recession in China. The change in the yuan was the largest in 23 years.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped another 1.5%, while the S&P 500 was off 1.3% and the Nasdaq shed 1.1%. The Dow was off 300 intraday, and not one sector was above water today. Energy and basic materials stocks were hit especially hard.
Nevertheless, some stocks were champions today, among them Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX), Taser International, Inc. (NASDAQ:TASR) and Convergys Corp (NYSE:CVG). Two of those three found friends among the analysts, and all finished as three of today’s best stocks. Here’s more on that:
Netflix, Inc. (NFLX)
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stunned the audience of the Consumer Electronics Show, as well as Wall Street, when he announced that while he was speaking, his company had now added three times as many countries to its operations as previously. That statement sent NFLX rocketing up at midday, and the video streaming stalwart never looked back, finishing 9% higher by the closing bell.
Some of the new countries mentioned by Hastings include India, Russia and South Korea. NFLX’s expansion numbers have now risen from 60 to 190 countries around the world.
Taser International, Inc. (TASR)
An analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. decided to re-initiate coverage of Taser today, sending TASR stock over 3.6% higher.
JPM analyst Mark Strouse gave TASR an “overweight” rating, along with a $25 price target, saying there is now a more favorable risk-to-reward ratio.
TASR has been cut in half since July, when it sold for near $32 a share. However, sales seem to be picking up as of late, as various municipalities try to shore up their ability to handle civil unrest. One recent example, Chicago, is set to add an additional 700 Taser units to its police force in the wake of recent violence in that city.
Convergys Corp (CVG)
CVG stock got a boost when it was upgraded by analysts at Sidoti & Company, LLC from “neutral” to “buy.” It was a complete reversal from Sidoti’s Oct. 15 downgrade, when it lowered its rating on CVG stock from “buy” to “neutral.”
It’s an interesting development in that CVG stock has basically treaded water since October, and several company insiders were selling shares of CVG in late November and early December at prices just a bit higher than the current level.
CVG stock finished the day higher by more than 3%.
As of this writing, Ethan Roberts does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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