Netflix is scheduled to release its next earnings report on Wednesday, and analysts are apparently expecting strong numbers. A second firm has now upgraded Netflix stock ahead of that report, following in Deutsche Bank’s footsteps, and at least one other has boosted its price target. Nonetheless, the streaming video company’s shares were little changed on Tuesday.
Goldman raises Netflix stock price target
Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry reiterated his Buy rating and raised his price target for Netflix stock from $140 to $155 per share in a research note dated Jan. 17. He believes the company is poised to beat estimates not only for earnings and revenue this year but also subscriber adds, the one area in which it struggled in 2016 due to the price increase related to the un-grandfathering of long-time users.
He noted that Netflix’s subscriber numbers depend heavily on the quality of the content being offered. The company’s original series have performed well, resulting in subscriber growth, and he believes the exclusive deal with Walt Disney is helping as well. Further, he believes the recently added ability to download content for offline viewing will drive further growth.
Terry’s research note focuses mostly on 2017 rather than on the fourth quarter earnings report that’s expected on Wednesday. He’s looking for 22 million net subscriber adds during the year, well ahead of the consensus of 16 million. He sees the potential for the company to beat even his high estimate, however, as it spent 56% more on content in 2016 than it did in 2015. He said the correlation between content spend growth and subscriber growth implies 29 million adds, but he feels that this could be optimistic because of the higher penetration in the company’s biggest markets.
Mizuho upgrades Netflix stock to Buy
Mizuho Securities analyst Neil Doshi upgraded Netflix stock from Neutral to Buy and boosted his price target from $112 to $152 per share. Like Terry, he chose to focus on 2017 rather than the fourth quarter, and he stated this in his note dated Jan. 16. He expects the fourth quarter results to be in line with estimates.
He noted that Netflix stock has climbed 34% since the company’s third quarter earnings report. However, he believes there is plenty of room for growth in international markets and in contribution profits, even without any big gains in Asia. As a result, he likes the “setup” going into this year, although he’s estimating far fewer subscriber adds than Terry, at 17.4 million. That estimate comes after he raised his estimate for domestic subscribers from 3.5 million to 4.6 million and his international estimate from 11.9 million to 12.8 million.
But what about that fourth quarter?
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali maintained his Overweight rating and $135 price target on Netflix ahead of this week’s earnings report. Like Doshi, he’s looking for a mostly in-line fourth quarter. He pegs the company’s fourth quarter revenue at $2.5 billion, its non-GAAP earnings at 21 cents per share, and its GAAP earnings at 14 cents per share. Squali is also estimating Netflix’s EBITDA at $177.8 million. The FactSet consensus numbers are $2.5 billion in revenue, 20 cents per share in non-GAAP earnings, 13 cents per share in GAAP earnings and $185.8 million in EBITDA.
The analyst expects 3.7 million international subscriber adds and 1.5 million domestic subscriber adds, bringing Netflix’ total subscribership at the end of 2016 to nearly 43 million. These numbers would be in line with the guidance of 3.75 million international subscribers and 1.45 million domestic.