Netflix stock is increasingly being driven by subscriber numbers more than by revenues or profits, so it comes as no surprise that another firm has boosted its price target based on subscriber estimates. Deutsche Bank is expecting another subscriber beat in the first quarter, especially in international subscribers.
Meanwhile, a Bernstein analyst feels that Netflix stock is like Jesus, according to his initiation note.
Netflix stock price target to $125
In a research note dated March 20, Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Kraft said he boosted his price target for Netflix stock to $125 from $110 per share, but maintained his Hold rating due to valuation. He expects the company to add 4.9 million total international subscribers in the first quarter, compared to the guidance and consensus estimate of 3.7 million. Kraft based his higher-than-consensus number on web traffic data, saying that he found strength in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Switzerland, Brazil and Mexico, among others. However, he said business in Asia hasn’t been picking up for the company yet.
He still sees Netflix as a “secular winner” based on the evolution of the media landscape and the fact that consumers like the original content and ad-free, on-demand experience. However, he won’t upgrade Netflix stock because he feels that the long-term profit expectations currently reflected in the valuation are still too high. He believes investors are underestimating how much investment is needed to drive the company’s objectives. He does feel that reinvesting in growth is the right strategy, but he’s looking at ten-year valuations and not three- to five-year valuations.
As a result, he struggles to see a favorable risk/ reward at current levels.
Netflix stock compared to Jesus
Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger has no struggles in the way of Netflix’s current valuation, however, as he seems to have little concern for fundamentals. On Friday, he compared Netflix stock to Jesus, saying that in the case of both, “you either believe or you don’t.” He also initiated coverage of Netflix stock with an Outperform rating and a $178 per share price target.
Indeed, the stock has become a rather polarizing one as its value has climbed higher and higher. Juenger agrees with Kraft in the sense that he sees no logical reason to “believe” in Netflix, but he disagrees that the lack of logical basis for support actually matters.
“Like any belief based on faith, we don’t think there are any arguments based on currently observable, factual evidence that could be made to convert believers into non-believers, or vice-versa,” he wrote. “There is no mathematical algorithm we can put forth, no new way of looking at churn or forecasting content spend or ARPU, that will incontrovertibly solve the debate.”
The Bernstein analyst noted that the streaming firm burned through $2 billion in cash last year, and, like Kraft, he’s also looking at longer time frame of more than 10 years. Unlike Kraft, however, Juenger described Netflix’s valuation as “absurdly low” when thinking about the enterprise value it can achieve in the future.
Shares of Netflix stock edged upward to as high as $146.25 during regular trading hours on Monday, but it couldn’t quite reach its recent high of $146.50 set on Thursday.