Netflix stock is still on a steady march downward after the company disappointed investors with the number of subscribers it added during the first quarter. Despite that disappointment, numerous firms boosted their price targets for Netflix stock, including uber-bears like Wedbush.
Netflix stock had its worst day in months
On Wednesday, Netflix stock was on track for its worst day in five months, although it showed resistance just under $142 a share. However, all bets are off today, as the stock marched onward and downward and seem destined for a close in the $140 range, if not below $140 a share. Netflix stock fell by more than 2% on Wednesday, touching as low as $139.77 during regular trading hours.
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The video streaming firm reported revenue that was in line with consensus for the first quarter but missed estimates and even its guidance on subscribers. However, management tried to reassure investors that it’s just a matter of timing with their release schedule, and some analysts seem convinced.
Netflix has a timing problem
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Graham was one of several who raised his price target for Netflix stock, moving it up to $165 from $160 per share following Monday’s earnings report. The company said it added 1.5 million paid domestic subscribers and 3.8 million international subscribers during the quarter, missing Graham’s estimates of 1.9 million and 4.2 million, respectively.
However, he feels that the full subscriber count for the first half of this year could end up being closer to his first-half estimate because he predicts a commanding performance in the second quarter. He noted that the company was up against a difficult sequential comparison because the fourth quarter was particularly strong as some subscribers whose prices were raised as a result of the un-grandfathering of their plans signed back up.
Additionally, House of Cards season five was pushed into the second quarter, while new seasons of the show were previously released during past first quarters. Because of this change in timing, Netflix guided for strong subscriber adds in the second quarter, including 850,000 domestic adds and 2.8 million international adds, both of which were higher than Graham’s previous estimate. He feels that the strong release slate for the second quarter and the additional local languages should drive improved subscriber adds during the second quarter.
Wall Street seems to think Netflix is doing better than it says
CNBC picked up on a major theme of analyst notes in the wake of the company’s earnings release. It seems most picked up on a comment management made about the company being close to passing 100 million subscribers in total. In fact, Netflix management apparently said they could pass that milestone as early as this weekend, which is a clue for those who are playing close attention.
The streaming firm had 98.75 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter. So if it passes 100 million subscribers this weekend, it means that it will have secured about 40% of its guided quarterly total for net adds in only three weeks, noted Stifel analyst Scott Devitt. He boosted his price target on Netflix stock from $155 to $170 per share after Monday’s earnings report.
Even Netflix stock bears such as Citi analyst Mark May, who has a Neutral rating on it, picked up on this hint and said he feels management’s guidance for subscriber adds in the second quarter may end up being conservative.
Among the other firms that boosted their price targets for Netflix stock was Wedbush, which moved from $68 to $73 per share but remain among the lowest on Wall Street. Raymond James analysts bumped their price target up from $160 to $165 per share.