AAPL, AMZN, NFLX: Does Common Sense Ever Prevail on the Stock Market?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I'm still angry over the media and analyst hysteria that fuels Apple's (AAPL) volatility. And it's still happening!

While the stock market has always been the ideal case study for behavioral psychologists, emotion drives it harder now more than ever. For better or worse, you have to know how to play both sides of the coin.

Consider Netflix ( NFLX). I proudly -- and accurately -- ride both sides of the fence on this one.

Harken back to December 19, 2012: Netflix to $100, But Should You Buy the Stock?. Read that article and the links peppered throughout. I explain my cautiously bull case for NFLX. Much better company today than it was in 2011.

The big difference: Netflix now uses a less Wild West, sharper-focused content acquisition strategy than it used to.

Netflix serves several niches well. At the top of the list: television programs for kids. As such, it let Starz go; it, presumably, isn't losing sleep over HBO and Universal Pictures' decade-long deal; and it landed exclusive, first-run Disney ( DIS) content starting in 2016.

Makes perfect sense for NFLX to pop because that's the bull story -- or at least it ought to be -- and it's perfectly logical.

So trade it, don't own it.

Because, as I wrote this morning:
Sanity, logical thought, rationality -- for once, it made more than a cameo appearance on the stock market. It prevailed.

Don't look now, but the old guard media names -- DIS, News Corp ( NWSA) and Time Warner ( TWX) -- easily outperformed NFLX over the last year. They're the types of names you own with confidence for the long term.

Similar situation with Pandora ( P): Trade it, only kind of, sort of own it.

Sometimes sanity does prevail.

In a perfect world, old-guard media stocks outperform NFLX because they operate from superior positions of strength. Ultimately, Pandora wins out because those of us who follow the company closely and interface with its executives know it's for real. At day's end, AAPL achieves lofty price targets because that company only loses if it beats itself.

We get glimpses of sanity on Wall Street all of the time, even from its crew of hack analysts.

As TheStreet's Antoine Gara explains with precision, Morgan Stanley upgraded Amazon.com ( AMZN) this morning.

Now, Morgan (enter cheesy financial media cliche here) pounds the table for AMZN on the basis of sustainable international growth. That's icing on the cake man. I love the thesis, but the Amazon story still happens at home. On Christmas Day, the company had more traffic -- almost four times as much traffic -- than Walmart's ( WMT) Web site.

Brick and mortar ain't catching up, primarily because it should not try to play catch-up. Innovate, don't imitate.

(Enter writer's transitional crutch here) But, I digress ... I have to give more credit to that Morgan upgrade. They get Amazon. Outside of international (also from Gara's story) the house sees ...
a slow ramp up of other Jeff Bezos growth projects as a catalyst to near-term earnings. Notably ... strong Apple iPad and iPhone sales could benefit Amazon.
While investors oftentimes lament Amazon's spending plans, Morgan Stanley sees international e-commerce efforts as paying off over the long term, as consumer retail markets open up on the Web.

Spot on. And spot on.

Amazon and Apple are partners, not competitors. And Amazon's spending drives performance, in China, elsewhere internationally and at home.

As of this writing, AMZN is up to around $266. New highs. On Dec. 18 I said it's headed to $300. Don't look now, but it's well on its way. With solid earnings later this month, it's in the bag. Even if Amazon missed, the stock, like it always does, will rebound.

People, like TheStreet's Jim Cramer, love Jeff Bezos. As they should.

Sometimes, sanity -- even at astronomical P/E ratios (!) -- does prevail.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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