NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are edging mostly higher in early trading on Wall Street Wednesday, with the notable exception of Netflix, which lost nearly a third of its value after reporting its first subscriber loss in more than a decade and predicting more grim times ahead. The S&P 500 index added 0.4% in the early going, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq gave up 0.3%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 major blue chip stocks rose 0.8%. In other company news, IBM added 4.7% after reporting results that beat analysts’ estimates. Crude oil prices rose slightly, and European markets were higher.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street inched up in premarket trading Wednesday, following European markets higher after a mixed session in Asia.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrials S&P 500 each climbed 0.4%.
Shares of Netflix lost more than a quarter of their value in off-hours trading after the streaming service reported an unexpectedly sharp drop in subscribers last quarter. Netflix’s customer base fell by 200,000 subscribers during the January-March quarter, a contraction that has the company considering changes it has long resisted: Minimizing password sharing and creating a low-cost subscription supported by advertising.
Netflix shares lost $95.40, or 27.4%, to $253.20 with about an hour before U.S. markets open.
Markets have mostly powered higher even as the conflict in Ukraine has heated up in recent days.
Russia was pounding Ukrainian cities and towns and pouring more troops into the war as it pursued a fresh offensive that seeks to slice the country in half in a battle for control of the country’s eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories.
Germany’s DAX rose 1.3%, the CAC 40 in Paris climbed 1.4% and Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.2%.
Authorities in Shanghai allowed 4 million people to leave their homes, easing a stringent shutdown that has deepened worries over the slowing Chinese economy. Health officials in Shanghai said a major outbreak of coronavirus was “under effective control” in some parts of the city of 25 million, China’s business capital and home to its largest port.
Almost 12 million people have been allowed to go outdoors following a first round of easing last week.
The International Monetary Fund cut its forecast of Chinese economic growth, to 4.4% from last year’s 8.1%, and warned the global flow of industrial goods might be disrupted by zero-COVID controls that confined residents of Shanghai and dozens of other cities to their homes, some for weeks.
Also Wednesday, the dollar edged down from a 20-year high against the Japanese yen, at 127.78 yen to the dollar. The weaker yen reflects a divergence between rising interest rates in the U.S., where the Federal Reserve is seeking to tamp down inflation, and unchanged rates in Japan, where the central bank has kept its key rate at minus 0.1% for years.
Japanese exports are more competitive overseas and corporate profits are fatter when converted from dollars to yen when the yen is weak. But a weaker yen raises costs of imports both for consumers and businesses.
Japan reported its trade deficit p ersisted in March as imports surged 31% thanks to soaring oil prices and a weakening yen. The deficit of 412 billion yen ($3.2 billion) was quadruple analysts’ estimates and a reversal from a surplus of 615 billion yen in March 2021.
In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.9% to 27,217.85 while the Kospi in South Korea was almost unchanged at 2,718.69.
The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 0.4% to 20,944.67 and the Shanghai Composite index slipped 1.4% to 3,174.35 after regulators kept a key interest rate unchanged, foiling hopes for it might be cut to help encourage more lending.
In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 picked up 0.1% to 7,569.20. India’s Sensex gained 1% while the SET in Bangkok rose 0.3%.
On Tuesday, stocks overcame a weak start to finish broadly higher, giving the major indexes on Wall Street their best day in nearly five weeks.
The S&P 500 rose 1.6%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.5% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq added 2.2%.
Stocks have mostly struggled this year amid uncertainty over how the economy and corporate America will be affected as the Federal Reserve moves to reverse low-interest rate policies that helped markets soar in recent years.
Investors are focusing on the current round of corporate report cards as more big companies release their earnings. Railroad giant CSX will report earnings on Wednesday, along with Tesla. American Airlines and Union Pacific will report their results on Thursday.
Also Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors releases its home sales report for March.
The latest round of earnings comes as investors try to gauge how companies and consumers are dealing with rising inflation that has made everything from food to clothing and gas more expensive.
U.S. crude oil gained $1.50 to $104.06 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It sank $5.56 on Tuesday to $102.05 per barrel.
Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oil, added $1.43 to $108.68 per barrel.
The euro rose to $1.0838 from $1.0789.