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Netflix, IBM stumble amid earnings; Alphabet jumps on new Pixel phones


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Netflix, IBM stumble amid earnings; Alphabet jumps on new Pixel phones

A slew of earnings reports and other activities drove movements in several major technology stocks during the week ended Oct. 18.

Netflix Inc. shares cratered after the video streaming player reported on Oct. 16 lower-than-expected net subscriber additions for the third quarter. The company added 6.8 million paid streaming video members globally during the third quarter, compared to an earlier guidance of 7.00 million paid net additions. That included 500,000 net U.S. adds, or 300,000 below the company's guidance. International streaming net additions came to 6.3 million, above Netflix's earlier 6.20 million projection.

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Company executives attributed the subscriber miss in part to the increasingly crowded streaming market. In the fourth quarter, Netflix will compete with new services such as The Walt Disney Co.'s Disney+ as well as Apple Inc.'s Apple TV+. AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia also plans to launch its HBO Max streaming service in 2020.

Fitch debt ratings analyst Patrice Cucinello said in a report following the results that Netflix still "reigns supreme" in terms of scale while noting that there is "increased uncertainty" as to whether new streaming competitors will slow the company's growth prospects.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Matthew Thornton held a slightly more positive view of the results, calling them "better than feared."

Around midday Oct. 18, Netflix shares were trading at $275.88, down 2.49% from their Oct. 11 close.

International Business Machines Corp. shares also tumbled after the company posted a decline in revenue for the fifth consecutive quarter.

Despite contributions from Red Hat Inc., the open-source software firm IBM acquired in July for about $34 billion, IBM's third-quarter revenue was down 3.9% year over year. Systems revenue declined 14.7%, and global financing revenue was down 11.7%. Global technology services, IBM's biggest segment by revenue, reported a sales decline of 6.7% year over year.

Management attributed the decline in global technology service revenues to a mix of lower revenue from client business volumes in certain markets as well as execution issues.

IBM stock was trading at $132.93 midday Oct. 18, down 6.89% for the week.

Also in technology, Alphabet Inc. shares jumped as its Google LLC unit launched revamped Pixel smartphones and other devices this week.

Google debuted Pixel 4 on Oct. 15. It retails for $799, and the larger Pixel 4 XL starts at $899. The devices include a new telephoto lens that captures higher-quality photos, as well as an HDR+ feature that allows users to see exactly how their photos will look before shooting.

Also included is a motion sensor that allows for improved facial recognition technology, among other features.

Google also revealed the Nest Mini speaker device, which retails for $49 and includes improved sound features. Also disclosed was a refreshed version of the company's flagship Chromebook laptop, called the Pixelbook Go.

Google's new wireless earbuds, known as Pixel Buds, were also unveiled. They will launch in the spring of 2020 and cost $179.

In addition, Google's new cloud-based game streaming platform Stadia will launch Nov. 19. The service will allow players to stream games via the Chrome browser on a range of devices.

Alphabet shares were trading at $1,246.22 around 12 p.m. ET Oct. 18, up 2.51% from their Oct. 11 close.