Nasdaq falls as Netflix drags index deeper into correction territory

FAN Editor

Stocks moved lower on Friday as sharp losses in streaming giant Netflix dragged the Nasdaq Composite deeper into correction territory.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 60 points, or 0.2%. The S&P 500 lost 0.3%. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are on track for a third straight week of losses. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite declined 0.5%, on track for its worst week since October 2020.

Netflix‘s disappointing quarterly report is the latest setback for technology investors. Shares of the streaming giant tumbled 21% on Friday after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report showed a slowdown in subscriber growth. Its competitors’ shares also declined, with Dow component Disney, which operates the Disney+ streaming service, off 5%.

Netflix is the first major tech stock to report earnings this season, with Apple and Tesla slated to post earnings next week.

Meanwhile, Peloton shares rebounded 7% on Friday. The maker of interactive fitness bicycles and treadmills plunged 23.9% during regular trading on Thursday after CNBC reported that the company is temporarily halting production of its fitness products.

The major losses in growth names have pushed the Nasdaq Composite further in correction territory as rising rates pressure technology stocks and future profits begin to look less attractive. At Thursday’s close, the Nasdaq was down 11.85% from its closing record in November.

“Given the emotional decline in the stock market of the last few days, fundamentals have been suspended as market action is entirely tied to technical support levels,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group.

“Until a level is reached in this collapse… fundamentals like bond yields, economic reports and even earnings releases will not likely have much impact. Fear now must be extinguished by some stock market stability before traders and investors again start to consider fundamental drivers,” added Paulsen.

The Nasdaq Composite’s struggle is largely due to a surge in government bond rates this week. The U.S. 10-year Treasury hit 1.9% on Wednesday as investors focused on the Federal Reserve’s timeline for raising interest rates and broadly tightening monetary policy. However, bond yields retreated on Friday.

Investors will now be turning their attention to the Fed’s January two-day policy meeting, set to start on Tuesday.

“While a handful of rate hikes over the next year or two would represent a shift in Fed policy, we wouldn’t consider policy restrictive and we don’t expect the initial rate increase to derail the economic recovery,” said Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute. However, he added that rate hikes will inject volatility into the market.

During regular trading Thursday, the Dow shed 313 points, or 0.89%. At one point during the session, the 30-stock benchmark was up more than 450 points. A similar reversal played out for the other major averages. The S&P declined 1.1% after earlier advancing 1.53%. The Nasdaq Composite ended the day with a loss of 1.3%, reversing a prior move that had the tech-heavy index up 2.1%.

“The market has been flashing faulty signals for the past few weeks and it seems as if the broader indices are finally breaking down,” said Scott Redler of T3 Live. The S&P 500 closed below 4,500 on Thursday for the first time since October 18, which Redler said is important from a technical standpoint and “opens the door for a targeted move to at least 4,320, which would take the S&P down 10%.”

Small caps have also been hit hard this week. The Russell 2000 is on track for its worst week since June 2020. The index fell 0.6% on Friday.

Bitcoin is getting hit hard on Friday as investors brace for the Fed and dump riskier assets with higher rates ahead. The digital asset fell more than 10% to around $38,233 on Friday.

– CNBC’s Patti Domm contributed reporting.

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