Netflix, IBM, Legal Pot in Canada, Mega Millions - 5 Things You Must Know

Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, Oct. 17:

1. -- Stocks Cool Off After Wall Street's Surge

U.S. stock futures pointed lower on Wednesday, Oct. 17, following the biggest single-day surge on Wall Street in more than six months, as investors shifted their focus to the strength of U.S. corporate earnings season. Geopolitical tensions and ongoing trade disputes capped gains in Europe and Asia.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 86 points, futures for the S&P 500 declined 8.25 points, and Nasdaq futures were down 27.50 points.

Stocks posted sharp gains on Tuesday, Oct. 16, getting a boost from better-than-expected earnings from Dow components UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) . The Dow gained 547 points, or 2.2%, to 25,798.42, the S&P 500 gained about 2.2%, and the Nasdaq jumped 2.9%. 

Abbott Laboratories (ABT)  posted adjusted third-quarter earnings of 75 cents a share, meeting analysts' estimates. Sales of $7.66 billion slightly surpassed forecasts.

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The economic calendar in the U.S. on Wednesday includes Housing Starts for September at 8:30 a.m. ET, Oil Inventories for the week ended Oct. 12, at 10:30 a.m., and minutes from the Sept. 26 meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m.

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2. -- Netflix Soars as Subscriber Growth Trounces Estimates

Netflix Inc. (NFLX)  was up 11.1% in premarket trading on Wednesday after third-quarter subscriber growth beat analysts' expectations.

The streaming giant said it added 1.09 million subscribers in the U.S. in the quarter and 5.87 million subscribers globally, well ahead of analyst's estimates of 674,000 U.S. additions and 4.46 million global adds.

The results also beat Netflix's previously issued guidance of 5 million net subscriber additions in the quarter -- 650,000 in the U.S. and 4.35 million in international markets.
 
Netflix attributed the third-quarter subscriber beat to "greater-than-expected acquisition globally, with strong growth broadly across all our markets including Asia."

Profit in the quarter was 89 cents a share on revenue of $4 billion. Analysts were calling for net income of 68 cents a share on revenue or $3.99 billion.

Netflix guided for 9.4 million net streaming additions in the fourth quarter, well above consensus estimates of 7.7 million. 

3. -- IBM Slumps After Revenue Slows

International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)  slumped 4.8% in premarket trading after the tech giant's revenue in the third quarter came in shy of Wall Street estimates.

Revenue fell 2.1% to $18.76 billion and missed forecasts of $19.1 billion, although adjusted earnings of $3.42 a share beat estimates by 2 cents.

IBM's Technology Services and Cloud Platforms group reported revenue of $8.3 billion, down 2% from a year earlier. Analysts were calling for revenue of $8.43 billion.

IBM's Cognitive Solutions segment, which includes solutions software and transaction processing software, reported quarterly revenue of $4.1 billion, down 6%.

"Obviously, we've still got a lot of work to do," Chief Financial Officer Jim Kavanaugh told investors on a conference call late Tuesday. "We're 16 days into a very important fourth quarter and we are focused on delivering consistent operational performance to deliver value for our clients in the marketplace and also for our shareholders."

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4. -- Recreational Marijuana Is Now Legal in Canada

Canada has become the first major economy to legalize recreational cannabis as sales began early Wednesday.

In the run-up to legalization in Canada, stocks such as Tilray Inc. (TLRY) and Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC)  have put in remarkable year-to-date performances. Industry watchers expect many other countries to follow Canada's lead and legalize pot, which could give the stocks another serious tailwind.

Experts aren't certain how much money people ultimately will spend on cannabis, but the number could be substantial. "It certainly is a very large number," Smoke Wallin, president of Vertical, a Los Angeles-based cannabis seller, told TheStreet. In addition, Constellations Brands Inc.'s (STZ) Chief Operating Officer Bill Newlands told Jim Cramer at TheStreet's Boot Camp for Investors over the weekend that "in the next 10+ years, this is going to be a $200 billion business worldwide -- and some would argue [that's] understating the case."

5. -- Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs to $868 Million

The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $868 million after no winning lottery ticket was sold in the drawing on Tuesday.

Mega Millions officials said no tickets matched all six numbers to claim the estimated $667 million grand prize in the latest drawing. The numbers were 3, 45, 49, 61, 69 and Mega Ball 9.

The next drawing will be Friday, Oct. 19. The estimated jackpot for that drawing would be the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history, according to the Associated Press.

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