Netflix stock climbed on Friday following an upgrade from analysts at Deutsche Bank. The video streaming giant is set to release its next earnings report next week, so analysts are taking close looks at whether the company was able to deliver on its promises for the fourth quarter.
Netflix stock upgraded to Hold
Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft isn’t a believer in Netflix stock yet, but he has turned a little less bearish on the company going into next week’s earnings report. He upgraded the stock from Sell to Hold and boosted his price target from $90 to $110 per share. We’ll just have to wait and see whether the company will ever convince Wedbush—the ultimate Netflix bear—that it has room to run. Wedbush’s price target for Netflix stock is even lower than Kraft’s was.
In a research note dated Jan. 12, Kraft described Netflix’s valuation as “still aggressive,” but he expects the company to beat its guidance for the fourth quarter. When he initiated coverage of Netflix stock with a Sell rating, he felt that the company was a “secular winner” with an “attractive business model” but a stock price “2 years ahead of the fundamentals.”
Boosting subscriber outlook for Netflix
The Deutsche Bank analyst raised his international subscriber projection because he believes the company will begin to see higher returns on its content investment based on its recent results. Also his checks suggest international strength riding on original content such as Luke Cage, The Crown, Gilmore Girls and Fuller House.
Kraft is now looking for 4.35 million international paid net adds, which is well ahead of management’s outlook of 3.35 million. He found increased demand in major European markets like Germany, France, Spain and Italy. He’s currently leaving his U.S. subscriber projection the same.
Netflix stock price target boosted by Cowen also
In his own research note dated Jan. 11, Cowen and Company analyst John Blackledge also raised his price target for Netflix stock, bumping it up to $155 from $150 per share. He also reiterated his Outperform rating ahead of next week’s earnings report, noting that investor sentiment on the company has been positive since its third quarter earnings report in October. Netflix stock skyrocketed by more than 30% as the company emerged little affected by last year’s price increases with a higher average revenue per user in several markets.
Blackledge estimates that Netflix added 1.45 million domestic streaming subscribers and 1.15 million paid domestic steaming subscribers, both of which are in line with guidance. He’s looking for 3.76 million international streaming adds and 3.36 million paid international adds. Those numbers are ahead of guidance at 3.75 million, 3.35 million, respectively.
Diving into the numbers
The analyst pegs the company’s revenue at $2.47 billion, a 35% year over year increase and in line with consensus on the back of $1.52 billion in domestic revenue and $946 million international revenue. He believes that total global streaming revenue grew 40% year over year to $2.34 billion, which is in line with guidance, and he’s looking for 18 cents per share in non-GAAP earnings, which is ahead of consensus at 13 cents per share.
Blackledge introduced his estimates for 2017 as well. For the first quarter, he’s looking for 2.07 million domestic streaming adds, compared to 2.23 million in the year-ago quarter. He expects 3.85 million international adds, versus the year-ago quarter’s 4.51 million.
Even Netflix bears looking for a beat
Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said in a note on Jan. 10 that he also believes Netflix met or exceeded its guidance for subscriber adds in the fourth quarter. He’s estimating $2.48 billion in revenue and 13 cents per share in earnings, putting him in line with the consensus for non-GAAP earnings but slightly ahead on revenue.
Pachter feels that the company’s guidance was achievable because of the success of The Crown (a view held by bulls as well), and he believes that success probably offset some of the churn from the final of last year’s price increases. However, he warned that Netflix stock might slump after the company’s earnings report because he thinks guidance could disappoint. He’s looking for a guide of 1.5 million domestic net adds and 3.75 million international net adds, both declines from last year, as noted above.
He also warned that Amazon’s streaming service is now less expensive than Netflix’s, although Netflix’s catalog is deeper. He thinks the company is overvalued because of “the potential for sustained decelerating domestic growth coupled with consistently elusive international profitability, in addition to increased competition.” The Cowen analyst reiterated his Underperform rating and $60 price target on Netflix stock.
Shares of Netflix stock rose by as much as 2.6% to $132.54 during regular trading hours on Friday.