Market Focus


Netflix is ending its big year by giving CEO Reed Hastings a fat raise and possibly upping prices. Netflix shares almost quadrupled this year making it the top performing stock in the S&P 500 index. That performance landed Hastings a 50% salary increase for 2014 according to an SEC filing. The video streaming service is also experimenting with a new model that makes you pay more depending on how many screens you watch on. On top of that, Netflix is ending its poison pill or shareholder rights plan two years early. It adopted the plan to protect itself from a takeover when activist investor, Carl Icahn, took a huge position in the company. Today, the stock was up a fraction to $368.17.


Last night, we told you that Hertz adopted a shareholder rights plan to protect itself from a possible takeover. Today, activist investor, Dan Loeb’s Third Point Capital revealed it has taken a stake of about 5% in the car rental company. The shareholder rights plan will only be activated if a person or group acquires 10% or more of the company’s stock. Hertz also said it held discussions with other investors including Corvex about enhancing shareholder value. The news sent shares up almost 10.5% to $28.62.

Marvell Technology

Some merger buzz about Marvell Technology was also out today. Private equity firm, KKR has reported a 6.8% stake in the chipmaker. The firm said it may talk to Marvell about a potential merger or reorganization of its business. The stock jumped 4.5% to $14.38.

Phillips 66

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is swapping around $1.4 billion in share of Phillps 66 for ownership of one of its businesses. The unit Berkshire is acquiring makes chemicals designed to increase flow in energy pipelines. Shares of Phillips 66 rose 3% to $77.13. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway were also up a fraction to $118.56.


Hewlett Packard is cutting 34,000 jobs by the end of next year, that’s 5,000 more than the company originally estimated. When HP first announced the layoff plan in 2012, the company did say the cuts could increase. Shares were off a fraction to $27.98.


Revlon is also cutting costs. The cosmetics company is leaving China and reducing its workforce by 20% as part of a plan to slash costs by about $11 million a year. The move comes as Revlon’s sales have dropped in its Asia Pacific Market. Shares rose more than 1.5% to $24.96.

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