Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) was the world's first mainstream streaming service to experience widespread success globally. The company offers a blend of original content and shows, documentaries, and movies.
As the long-time leader in streaming services, Netflix faces growing competition from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), and Disney (NYSE: DIS). If you want to buy Netflix stock from Canada, this is how to do it.
Read our complete guide to buying US stocks.
About the company
While Netflix started gaining popularity in 2012, it might surprise you to learn that Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded the company in 1997, long before bandwidth became abundant and affordable. Netflix initially focused on DVD rental by mail, which was such a success that they launched their IPO in 2002 at US$15 per stock. It wasn’t actually until 2007 that Netflix started offering streaming services. With an eye to global expansion, by 2016 they offered content in 21 languages across 190 countries and continue to grow today.
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How to buy Netflix stock
Step 1: Pick a trading platform
Before you think about placing your first trade, you're going to need to settle on a broker for your trading account. Here's what you need to look for in a prospective broker.
Trading apps like Uphold and Wealthsimple Trade offer free trading for stock, options, and crypto. Many more established brokers like TD Ameritrade have also followed suit to offer commission-free trading. It's now practically standard to pay no commission.
Fractional stock trading
Being able to buy a fraction of a stock has a number of benefits. First, it lets you spread your risk — buying fractions of stocks in multiple companies — even on a small budget. Fractional stock trading also opens up the ability to invest in companies you wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.
Low account fees
Before signing up with your broker, check the fee schedule and compare what other brokers charge to make sure you are not over-paying on monthly account fees, transaction fees, inactivity fees, and additional trading costs.
Choose a broker offering cash and margin accounts. Margin accounts let you use "leverage." While cash accounts only let you trade the cash available in your account, with a margin account you can trade up a multiple of your account balance by borrowing money from the broker. This doesn’t come without risk though, so you will need to keep a certain amount of capital in your account and be prepared to put up additional funding if your margin trade goes against you.
Real-time data and charts
While every trading platform comes with charting, some are better than others. Commission-free brokers will not provide live market data. If this is something you need, you'll have to pay for access.
Step 2: Fund your trading account
To fund your trading account, you'll have to send your broker a bank wire transfer or make a deposit through your debit card. Some brokers don't accept credit cards as a means of funding an account.
Remember, there's a chance that you could lose on your investment, so don't put in any more than you can afford to lose. Make sure you understand and practice the principles of risk management when funding your account and placing trades.
Step 3: Decide what to invest
When you're deciding on how much of your balance to allocate to a trade, you'll need a quick lesson in risk management. Professional day traders de-risk by investing no more than 5% of their total account balance in one stock.
So, if you're starting with US$300 in your account, you would only risk US$15 on each trade. This strategy prevents you from putting all your buying power in a single transaction that could go wrong.
Step 4: Choose between stocks of Netflix or ETFs
After funding your account and deciding on your risk management strategy, it's time to place your order. But do you either purchase Netflix stock outright in fractional or whole stocks or choose an ETF? Time to choose.
ETFs are financial vehicles containing stock from several companies. A good example of an ETF holding Netflix as part of its weighted basket is the Invesco Dynamic Media ETF (PBS). By buying an ETF, you spread risk across several stocks instead of relying on the performance of Netflix alone. Other ETFs with exposure to Netflix include Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV), and Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO).
Step 5: Set up your order
After deciding whether to buy stocks or an ETF, you'll have to set up your order in your trading account.
This order type gets you into NFLX at the next price quoted by the market. Unfortunately, you could click the buy button at US$200, and the broker only fills you at US$205.
This order type prevents slippage from occurring during your order execution. You set the order to purchase Netflix at US$200, and when you click the buy button, your broker won't fill you at a higher price. While you avoid slippage with limit orders, there's a chance the price could move so fast that your order doesn't fill or receive a partial fill.
This order allows you to take profit automatically. It's a good choice for swing traders that don't want to watch charts 24/7. If you bought Netflix at US$200 with a price target of US$210, you set the stop limit, and the broker sells your holdings when the price reaches your target.
This order type is more of a risk management tool to limit your loss. You enter at US$200 and place a stop loss at 5% lower than your entry price. When the price action dips to US$190, the broker executes a sell order, liquidating the position to prevent further losses.
Step 6: Execute the order
After deciding which order type works for your trading strategy, it's time to buy some Netflix stock. In your trading platform's order form, enter the ticker symbol, then the number of stocks you want to purchase, and finally your limit order price. Click the buy button to execute the order.
After you buy
What moves Netflix's stock price?
Netflix stock moves around news releases concerning subscriber growth and earnings. Subscriber growth is the more important factor, and if the growth rate is higher than the market expects, then you can expect the stock to move. The inverse is also true.
Another factor that can affect their stock price is competition. Streaming entertainment is a competitive market and it's only getting more difficult as tech behemoths like Apple, Amazon, and Google build out their own streaming platforms. Disney's launch of Disney+ also saw many titles removed from the Netflix library. In response, Netflix is investing huge sums in their own exclusive titles to attract new customers and reduce churn in their existing customer base.
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