Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock has outperformed the rest of the NASDAQ-100 (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) over the last year by a comfortable margin, more than tripling in price with a weighted alpha of 145+, and according to Jim Van Meerten on The Street now may be a good time to buy even though it’s already very popular.
Just to be clear, Netflix’s p/e ratio isn’t high, it’s astronomical, hovering in the low 300s. The stock is trading above its 20, 50, and 100-day averages and has had 10 new highs in the last quarter. There’s no doubt that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is extremely popular right now, and Van Meerten specifically mentions a Motley Fool poll of 9700 readers, 80 percent of whom thought that Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) will continue to beat the market. Interest in shorting the company has dropped steadily, and analysts mostly recommend holds, but with more calling it a buy than a sell.
And this high p/e is coming at a time when the overall spread in valuation is extremely tight, suggesting that investors are acting on sentiment more than fundamentals. Taking that same information, with more of an eye towards value investing, gives the opposite conclusion reached by InvestorPlace editor Jeff Reeves.
Netflix having a great race, but where’s the finish line?
“Netflix has had a hell of a run in 2013, up over 170% year-to-date on big earnings results and short squeezes. But that run for Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock might end in tears, and soon,” he writes. The issue, which consumed analysts just a month or two ago, is that Netflix isn’t hitting the new subscriber numbers that it needs to guarantee strong growth. It’s moved into content creation with House of Cards, Arrested Development, and Orange is the New Black, all well received, but that’s not enough to show that content will be a sustainable source of growth.
There’s no reason to be pessimistic about Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX)’s prospects, but the current attitude of unrestrained optimism doesn’t seem warranted either. Short sellers have lost on Netflix multiple times this year, and sotcks like Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) have kept up what appears to be a bloated p/e for ages, but at some point, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) will either have to post some pretty impressive subscription numbers or face a serious price correction. When those unrealized subscriptions have already been priced in, it seems hard to justify getting in now.