Major benchmarks have been on a record run lately, but investors took a pause Friday morning. Some troubling doubts started to set in about whether the U.S. and China would actually be able to make enough progress to warrant the tariff reductions that market participants have started to anticipate. As earnings season starts to draw to a close, trade will become more important for investor sentiment broadly. As of 11 a.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down 54 points to 27,621. The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) fell 2 points to 3,084, but the Nasdaq Composite (NASDAQINDEX:^IXIC) managed to move higher by 12 points to 8,446.
There are still high-profile companies releasing earnings, though, and Disney (NYSE:DIS) was a big winner following its report late Thursday. Meanwhile, marijuana stocks like Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) have taken a big hit in recent months, but with the cannabis company’s former CEO having found greener pastures elsewhere, Canopy is trying to move forward with its own strategy.
The House of Mouse is back!
Shares of Disney climbed 4% following the entertainment giant’s release of its fiscal fourth-quarter financial report late Thursday. Investors were hungry not just for the latest numbers, but also for hints of the company’s strategic process as it prepares to launch its Disney+ streaming video service.
On the surface, Disney’s key financials might have looked troubling to some. Revenue jumped 34% year over year in the fiscal fourth quarter, closing a year in which Disney boosted its top line by 17%. Yet significant headwinds hit the company’s profits, and even after taking account of certain items, adjusted earnings per share fell 28% for the quarter.
Yet Disney has prepared shareholders for the massive amounts of investment that it’ll take to get Disney+ off the ground, especially as rivals launch their own competing services. Having an extensive content library that includes popular features from Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm along with its namesake studio productions is a huge asset for the company, but it’ll still take plenty of effort to come out ahead.
Investors seem hopeful that Disney’s doing the right thing with its big streaming bet. Given the ongoing deterioration in traditional cable television, the move looks like the best choice, and we’ll learn a lot about how Disney does in the initial few months of its streaming launch.
Canopy Growth looks to go higher
Meanwhile, shares of Canopy Growth climbed 2%. The cannabis company has seen its stock lose ground steadily since April, giving up about 60% of its value, but big changes have some looking for a turnaround.
Yesterday, there were two big news items about Canopy. One involved former CEO Bruce Linton, who signed on as executive chairman of a small marijuana company that’s doing most of its work in the U.S. market. Shares of Vireo Health moved higher on the news, as Linton has a solid reputation in the industry for his work in getting Canopy to where it was prior to his departure in July.
The other showed how Canopy is moving on. The marijuana producer announced a collaboration with music superstar Drake to launch a new cannabis-based wellness company. The Morelife Growth Company will “bring best-in-class cannabis products to the world,” according to Canopy CEO Mark Zekulin, and Zekulin expects Drake’s status as an entertainer/entrepreneur to bring useful insight to the venture’s operations.
Finding strategic direction after a big change in the executive suite is always difficult, especially when it involves a founder. Canopy still has more work to do, but today’s move higher suggests that the marijuana stock might be close to having hit bottom.