The daily business briefing: January 23, 2018

Netflix shares soar as subscriber growth beats expectations, Trump slaps tariffs on solar components and washing machines, and more

The Netflix logo on a computer screen
(Image credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Netflix shares soar as it adds more subscribers than expected

Netflix attracted two million more subscribers than Wall Street expected in the final quarter of 2017, piling up 117.6 million streaming subscribers worldwide. The streaming video powerhouse also tripled its profits after raising prices in October and continuing to spend big on original programming to build on its dominance. "Netflix is pouring more and more money into making content, and it is directly translating into more subscribers," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said. The news sent Netflix shares soaring by 9 percent in after-hours trading to $248, a new high. The jump lifted Netflix's market capitalization above $100 billion for the first time. The company's stock rose by 53 percent last year.

2. Trump imposes tariffs on solar-energy components and washing machines

President Trump on Monday approved tariffs on imported solar-energy products and large washing machines to help American manufacturers gain an edge on foreign rivals. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement announcing the move that it showed Trump "will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses." Most imported solar components will incur a 30 percent tariff that will be reduced, then phased out after four years. Industrial washing machines will face tariffs reaching 50 percent before they phase out after three years. Suniva Inc. and the U.S. subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld sought the tariffs last year, saying they were needed to keep U.S. manufacturers in business after a nearly 500 percent increase in imported solar panels caused prices to collapse.

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The Associated Press

3. Davos opens with Trump expected to attend now that shutdown is over

The annual World Economic Forum officially kicks off in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday. A White House delegation is heading to the forum, and now that the government shutdown has ended, President Trump is expected to go ahead with plans to go to Davos later in the week. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead the U.S. delegation, which also will include Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, and United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, in a Sunday op-ed, called for Trump to use his appearance to reassure other world leaders uneasy about his "America First" policies.

The Hill The New York Times

4. Five missing after Oklahoma gas-rig explosion

Five oil rig workers were missing late Monday after an explosion at an Oklahoma gas well. Seventeen other employees were rescued. At least one person was treated at the site for minor burns. Fire crews were forced to retreat from the area due to several explosions. "Everything that is on location is on fire," said Pittsburg County Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe. "We are letting the fire run its course." The well is owned by Red Mountain Operating, state authorities said. The cause of the fire could not be determined immediately.


5. Global, U.S. stocks buoyed by end of government shutdown

World stocks rose to all-time highs on Tuesday in what analysts called a sign of relief after a short-term deal ended the U.S. government shutdown. The gains, which pushed the MSCI's 47-country index to its 12th high this year, were fueled by confidence over global growth and strong corporate earnings. "For the first time in a decade, the major economies of the world are all expanding at the same time, providing a foundation for global profits that fundamentally support risk assets," Goldman Sachs said in its 2018 outlook to clients. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 pointed to a likely higher open in the U.S., with the Dow gaining as much as 0.3 percent early Tuesday.

Reuters MarketWatch

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