Netflix, Inc. Earnings: Analyst Reactions A Mixed Bag

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Netflix released its latest earnings report on Monday after closing bell, and while the first quarter numbers beat EPS estimates, investors were more worried about the second quarter guide for subscriber adds. The analyst comments following that report are a mixed bag, with most firms cutting their price targets, others leaving them alone, and one or two actually upping their targets.

FBR raises Netflix target

FBR & Co. analyst Barton Crockett bumped up his price target for Netflix slightly from $100 to $104 but maintained his Market Perform rating. He called the first quarter results “decent,” with GAAP earnings coming in at 6 cents per share, revenue at $1.8 billion, and non-GAAP earnings at 6 cents per share. The consensus estimates were $1.9 billion in revenue and 4 cents per share in non-GAAP earnings.

Netflix added 2.23 million domestic subscribers, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 1.77 million and management’s guide of 1.75 million. For the second quarter, they guided for about 2 million new subscribers in the second quarter, which is less than half what the company added in the first quarter. They guided for 500,000 domestic adds, and Crockett noted that this level is close to the growth the company had from 2012 to 2014 but that the current arc suggests a high level of saturation.

He doesn’t believe an increase in average revenue per user will be able to answer all of Netflix’s problems because of increasing competition as Amazon waded further into the fray with its announcement about its standalone subscription offering for Prime Instant Video. ARPU is set to increase starting in May when the subscribers who have been with Netflix for more than two years will see their monthly subscription price raised to be in line with what everyone else has been paying for the last two years.

Credit Suisse, Mizuho cut Netflix target

Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju cut his price target for Netflix from $127 to $116 per share but maintained his Neutral rating. He said that last night’s report doesn’t change Netflix’s “long term addressable opportunity but rather its growth trajectory to one less steep as the company enters a normalized period of growth following a broader global launch in 1Q16.” He cut his international streaming subscriber growth estimates while increasing content costs.

Mizuho Securities also cut their price target, pushing it down from $120 to $109 and maintaining their Neutral rating. They’re concerned that international subscriber expectations for this year might be too high. Outperform-rated Cowen and Company cut its target from $155 to $135, while Morgan Stanley cut its target to $125. Nomura cut its target from $130 to $125.

Stifel says buy on pullback

Stifel analyst Scott Devitt is more positive on the streaming company, advising long-term investors to purchase shares on the current pullback. He noted that over the years, investors and analysts have been proven wrong on the company time and again and believes that they will continue to be proven wrong. He likes the international opportunities and emphasized that profitability will come at some point as international is not reaching peak subscriptions. He doesn’t think domestic subscribership is flat-lining either. Devitt has a Buy rating and $143 price target on Netflix.

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