New Customers Are Streaming to Netflix

Morning Business Memo…

The decision by Netflix to add "House of Cards" and other original programming to its Internet video service helped add 2 million US subscribers during the first quarter of this year. Netflix shares soared nearly 25 percent in after-market trading Monday after its stronger than expected quarterly earnings report. The firm bounced back from a loss a year ago and made a $3 million profit for the quarter. Quarterly revenue topped $1 billion for the first time. Netflix now has almost as many paying subscribers as HBO, and its move into original programming is a clear challenge to premium cable channels.

Strong support for a proposal that could lead to an end for tax-free shopping in most states. The legislation would give states more authority to collect sales tax from Amazon, e-Bay and other online retailers. The White House says the president supports the bill. The Senate voted 74-20 on a motion to begin debate on the bill. A final vote in Congress may come next month. The National Retail Federation has been a leading voice in support of the legislation, arguing that it would help level the playing field for brick-and-mortar stores that must charge customers local and state sales taxes. The National Governors Association says the bill would give states the authority to collect taxes that are already owed.

Is Ben Bernanke preparing to step down as chairman of the Federal Reserve? His decision to skip the Fed's annual August conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., is adding to speculation that this year will be Bernanke's last in the job. Jackson Hole has long been a high-profile platform for speeches by Fed chairmen. Since taking over the Fed in 2006, Bernanke has been the marquee speaker each year. His second 4-year term will end in January.

This is a busy week for corporate earnings. About one-third of the S&P 500 will report quarterly numbers in the next few days. Apple's earnings will be closely watched when they are released this afternoon. US stocks closed up yesterday, and futures were down slightly this morning. International stock markets were mixed today after a report that China's manufacturing growth slowed in April, adding to worries about the health of the world's second-largest economy.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio Twitter: daviesabc