Netflix surges on strong earnings

New York - Netflix jumped in early trading on Thursday after a strong quarterly earnings report, while the broader market inched higher ahead of Friday's inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Netflix rose 5.6% after it announced it had added seven million new subscribers in the fourth quarter and lifted profit 55% to $66.7m.

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones industrial Average was up a hair at 19 806.97.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose less than 0.1% to 2 272.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2% to 5 566.91.

Markets have been choppy this week ahead of the presidential inauguration with investors viewing the change of administration with a mix of hope and uncertainty.

"There is generally a y-u-u-u-g-e wait-and-see mentality right now with the imminent political change in Washington DC, which has been hyped since November 8, and has everyone wondering if the reality of political matters will live up to that hype," briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare wrote in an analysis.

Prior to the US market open, the European Central Bank kept interest rates low and maintained its bond-buying program.

In economic data releases, four-week average for US jobless claims hit a 43-year low, while new home construction rose sharply in December.

Railroad company CSX shot up 16.5% on speculation it could be acquired after rival Canadian Pacific announced that chief executive Hunter Harrison was stepping down and would pursue "opportunities involving other Class 1 Railroads." Railroad Norfolk Southern rose 3.4%, while Canadian Pacific advanced 2.5 percent.

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