Dow falls more than 150 points at the open as volatile trading continues

Stocks fell on Wednesday as volatile trading continued through the start of the earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 157 points as IBM led the decline. The S&P 500 traded 0.2 percent lower, with materials and financials lagging. The Nasdaq Composite fell 0.1 percent despite strong gains from Netflix.

Netflix shares were up 6 percent after the streaming giant posted third-quarter earnings that easily beat expectations. The big beat was driven by stronger-than-expected subscriber growth in both the U.S. and overseas.

J.P. Morgan said in a note the company is “back on track” following the release of its latest results. “While quarters can be lumpy, the bigger picture path is consistent, & we continue to believe there is significant growth potential ahead,” J.P. Morgan said.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

CSX and Cree also reported better-than-expected earnings Tuesday after the close, while M&T Bank and U.S. Bancorp’s results topped estimates Wednesday before the bell.

However, IBM reported mixed quarterly results, with earnings topping estimates and revenue missing. The results sent the company’s stock down by more than 7 percent.

Overall, the earnings season is off to a good start. Of the S&P 500 companies that have reported thus far, 89.8 percent have topped analyst expectations, according to FactSet.

Wednesday’s moves come a day after the major indexes posted their best day since March, boosted by strong earnings. On Tuesday, the Dow surged more than 500 points as Goldman SachsJohnson & Johnson, and UnitedHealth jumped. Tuesday’s jump helped Wall Street recover some of the steep losses from last week. The Dow and S&P 500 fell more than 4 percent last week, while the Nasdaq lost 3.7 percent.

On the data front, housing starts fell 5.3 percent last month, more than expected.

“The pace of single family home building has slowed over the past 4 months,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer of The Bleakley Advisory Group, in a note. “Price inflation along with higher mortgage rates has turned off interested buyers.”

At 2 p.m ET, the Federal Open Market Committee will release the minutes of its meeting held in late September.

—CNBC’s Spriha Srivastava contributed to this report.

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