Netflix Jumps on Earnings; Ford Taps Next CEO

Stocks didn't miss a beat coming back from the long weekend, as all three indexes added to last week's gains today. As earnings season heats up this week, investors seem to be encouraged by mostly upside reports from the financial sector last week and await updates from heavyweights across the board over the next few days. Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average  (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) finished up 41 points, or 0.3%, with the pharma sector leading the way on reports that Pfizer had offered to buy AstraZeneca for $101 billion, though Astra rejected the proposal. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 increased 0.4% and the Nasdaq gained 0.6%.  

After hours, Netflix  (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) was among a host of companies reporting earnings, with the video streamer jumping 7% after announcing a price increase and adding 4 million streaming subscribers, bringing its total to over 48 million. Revenue jumped 24% to $1.27 billion, in line with estimates, while earnings per share surged to $0.86, better than the consensus at $0.83. Regarding the price increase, management said it would lift its monthly fee by a dollar or two on new members only on a country-by-country basis. In 2011, Netflix notoriously saw users flee when it upped prices on its combined DVD-and-streaming package by 60%. Tapping new members assures the company that it won't repeat that mistake again, however, and CEO Reed Hastings said it would enable the company to "acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience." Looking ahead, Netflix was optimistic about the current quarter, guiding EPS at $1.12 against estimates of $1.00. Once again, Netflix appears to be firing on all cylinders, but the high price tag should make investors question how long it can maintain this level of growth. 

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Elsewhere, Ford  (NYSE: F  ) named current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields as its next CEO, according to various reports. Fields will replace Alan Mulally, the man credited with saving Ford from bankruptcy during the financial crisis as the 68-year-old is expected to retire before the end of the year. Ford shares momentarily dropped on the news but recovered to finish down 0.1%. Fields would seem to bring a strong resume to the table, having overseen Ford's operations in North and South America as well as Mazda and Land Rover when they were part of the company in his 25 years with the automaker. Ford had said previously that Fields would be Mulally's likely successor, though no official announcement was given.

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