Netflix shares soared in Tuesday’s trading session, hitting a 52-week high of $577.10 post an upgrade from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. However, CNBC’s Jim Cramer was surprised by the upgrade, calling it “extraordinary.”
Cramer questions Schindler’s stance on Netflix
On Squawk on the Street, Cramer said the Netflix upgrade is an “extraordinary reversal of how a guy feels about a stock.”
In a note on Tuesday, the bank upgraded its rating on the video streaming service’s stock from Underperform to Buy. The analysts stated that the company has both long-term subscriber growth and earnings potential. Additionally, the financial firm more than doubled its price target from $350 to $722 fuelled by “improved marketing and content costs from global original content licensing.” Nat Schindler, an analyst at BofA, said that revising their rating upwards is the result of a more constructive view of Netflix’s long-term subscriber and earnings potential driven by its rapidly growing portfolio of “AAA” original content.
“I would have called this [note] ‘wrong,'” Cramer added.
Original content driving growth and stock
At present, the online streaming company is the top notch performer in the NASDAQ 100, an index that lists the largest non-financial NASDAQ companies. With a market cap of $34 billion, Netflix shot up to an all-time high of $562.05 on April 16 after raking in 62 million subscribers globally during the January-March quarter with its mega-hit original content like House of Cards. In that period, Netflix added 2.6 million members globally, compared to a forecast of 2.25 million, due to stronger than expected growth internationally.
Original shows such as the third season of House of Cards and new shows such as The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodline also drove growth for the company. In the first quarter, subscriptions went beyond expectations, irrespective of the quarterly earnings that were below the forecast numbers. Netflix increased its U.S. subscriber base by 2.3 million members, above the consensus estimates of 1.88 million. Second quarter net additions are expected to be 0.6 million, similar to the year-ago performance.
If Schindler is to be believed, then the streaming company will expand its base to 50 million international subscribers by 2017 and 120 million subscribers in the long term.
On Tuesday, Netflix shares closed up by 1.92% at $565.55, and year to date, the stock is up by almost 65%.