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Does it have an idiomatic meaning here?

"Even Netflix was at $99 a share just three days ago, and closed at $123 on Thursday. The story for this stock was turned on its head when it reported earnings earlier this week. Netflix trades on the amount of subscribers it receives, and those subscription numbers have been weak lately, though the company repeatedly told investors not to judge its growth on a quarterly basis and to think long-term."

SOURCE: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/20/jim-cramer-warns-that-if-you-treat-stocks-like-politics--youll-be-eviscerated.html

  • To trade on means "to exploit". Normally an editor would replace "amount" with "number". Mashed potatoes are served in amounts; subscribers sign up in numbers. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Oct 21 '16 at 10:26
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While TRomano's comment is correct in that "trade on", in some contexts, could suggest "to exploit", the meaning is actually much less negative. "Exploit" generally connotes "taking advantage" of something, and while Netflix does rely on amount of customers to measure market share and profitability, it's not a one-sided relationship.

In this context, I would rather say that "to trade on" implies that Netflix' stock price directly relates to the number of subscribers -- if there are more subscribers, the stock price goes up, and vice-versa. The verb creates an image of the group of traders who deal in Netflix stock primarily look to subscriber statistics to determine whether they will buy or sell.

In the same way you could say that McDonald's stock trades on the number of Big Macs it sells, or that Microsoft's stock trades on the total number of Windows licenses.

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    +1 "Netflix is trading on a high price-earnings-ratio.", how something is valued or priced in the market just as "A chef trades on his ability to cook good food". – Peter Oct 21 '16 at 21:08

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