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Earnings boost; Netflix is on fire; Saudi Arabia isolated

Posted at 6:15 AM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 06:15:31-04

1. Earnings boost: Corporate America gave markets a shot in the arm on Tuesday but the bounce may already be fading.

Investors cheered upbeat results and forecasts from Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), UnitedHealth (UNH) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). The mood was helped by calmer bond markets, following the spike in US Treasury yields last week.

The Dow Jones industrial average soared 548 points, or 2.2%, by the close. It was the Dow’s best day since March, helping the index recover a chunk of last week’s hefty losses. The S&P 500 was also up 2.2%, while theNasdaq spiked 2.9%.

Tech stocks, battered last week, raced back to life. Alphabet (GOOGL), Amazon (AMZ) and Facebook (FB) rallied about 3% apiece.

But US stock futures were dipping early on Wednesday. European markets opened higher, but trimmed those gains later in the morning.

Markets in Asia closed mostly higher.

2. Netflix on fire: Shares in Netflix (NFLX) soared nearly 14% in extended trading. The streaming company said it added nearly 7 million new subscribers in its most recent quarter, about 2 million more than it had expected.

Last quarter, the company said that it gained about 1 million fewer customers than expected, sending its stock plunging.

Netflix now has more than 137 million customers around the world. It said it expects to add another 9.4 million subscribers in the final quarter of this year.

3. Saudi Arabia shunned: Riyadh is finding itself increasingly isolated because of the unexplained disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde became the latest prominent guest to cancel her attendance at an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week. Several US and European CEOs have already dropped out of the event.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still expected to attend. But President Donald Trump on Monday opened the door to the possibility that Mnuchin may withdraw, telling reporters that “we haven’t made a decision about going yet.” He said a final call would be made by Friday.

Watch CNNMoney’s ‘Markets Now’ today at 12:45 p.m. ET

4. Earnings and economics: Winnebago (WGO) plans to release earnings before the open Wednesday. Alcoa (AA) will follow after the close.

A new report on US crude oil inventories will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET. US oil prices have been jittery in the past few days, as tensions with Saudi Arabia build.

Minutes from the latest Fed meeting will be published at 2 p.m. ET.

Data in the United Kingdom showed annual inflation eased to 2.4% in September from 2.7% in August. Currency markets will be paying close attention to a meeting of EU leaders on Wednesday, the latest attempt to agree a Brexit divorce deal with the United Kingdom.

Online fashion retailer ASOS (ASOMY) reported bumper results on Wednesday. Its sales jumped 26% in the year to the end of August. Shares in the company jumped 12% after the announcement.

5. Coming this week:
Wednesday — Alcoa (AA) and Winnebago (WGO) earnings
Thursday — American Express (AXP), Blackstone (BX), Bank of New York (BK), E*TRADE (ETFC) and PayPal (PYPL) earnings
Friday — Procter & Gamble (PG), VF Corp (VFC) and State Street (STT) earnings