The Best S&P Stock to Target in January

Netflix is a historical outperformer in January

by Patrick Martin

Published on Dec 30, 2019 at 1:08 PM

Heading into a new month, year, and decade, Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White broke down the best S&P 500 stocks to own in January over the past 10 years. One name in particular stood out: Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX), which is not only the sole FAANG stock to show up on the list, but it's also boasted particularly impressive returns in recent years.

More specifically, looking back over the last decade, Netflix stock boasts an average January return of 28.9%, with nine out of 10 returns positive. That's easily the best on the list, with Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) coming in at a distant second with its 9.6% average return.

Best Stocks January

Breaking down NFLX even more, the FAANG stock's 2018 return in January came in at 40.8%, while 2012 and 2013 resulted in January gains of 73.5% and 78.5%, respectively. In fact, Netflix has made a double-digit percentage move in each January over the past decade, with just one occurrence to the downside -- a 19.7% plunge in 2016.

netflix stock returns

After bottoming at $252.28 on Sept. 24, NFLX -- which at last check was trading at $328.33 -- ran out of steam at the $340 level last month after a downgrade. While the shares have pulled back some since then, their 200-day moving average has emerged as a floor, a trendline that served as support earlier in 2019. 

In the options pits, calls seem to hold the advantage. The 10-day call/put volume ratio of 1.69 at the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) ranks 2 percentage points from an annual high, suggesting that calls have been bought to open at a much quicker clip relative to puts than what's normally seen.

Options buying appears to be an attractive play at the moment. The FAANG name's Schaeffer's Volatility Index (SVI) of 29% sits in the low 3rd percentile of its annual range. This means short-term NFLX options are pricing in extremely low volatility expectations right now. 


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