Why Did Netflix (NFLX) Stock Gain This Morning?
Shares of Netflix NFLX added as much as 2% in early morning trading Wednesday as the stock looks to continue rebounding from an extended downturn. Today’s gains appear to be at least partially inspired by a positive analyst note.
MKM Partners analyst Rob Sanderson raised his price target for Netflix shares to $395 from $390 on Wednesday morning, citing renewed enthusiasm for the video streaming company following its recent pullback.
The analyst expects Netflix to reach 90 million U.S. subscribers by 2025, with international subscribers hitting 300 million by that same year. Sanderson also said he expects Netflix to increase its content budget on a P&L basis to $22 billion by 2025.
That prediction is more than triple his $7.75 billion estimate for this year. According to Sanderson, this hike will come through higher spending on marketing, tech development, and general and administrative costs.
But for this analyst, increased spending is not something investors should be worrying about. “We think the business has potential to triple content spending by 2025 and deeply penetrate the mass consumer market on a global basis,” Sanderson wrote.
Sanderson’s bullish note comes in the same week that Netflix has received criticism for introducing short promotional videos that play between episodes of shows. While Netflix refers to these clips as “video promos” for its own content, many viewers have been quick to declare them commercials.
“In this particular case, we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster. It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at any time if they are not interested,” Netflix wrote in a statement.
Netflix shares have added more than 68% so far this year, but the stock’s momentum has cooled in recent weeks.
After reaching a 52-week high in mid-July, shares tumbled nearly 25% as Wall Street took profits and investors reacted harshly to disappointing user growth numbers in the most recent quarter. Netflix have since bounced off these nearly three-month lows, adding more than 8.5% so far this week.
Still, analyst sentiment toward Netflix has been relatively muted since its latest earnings report, as a sluggish outlook ushered in a number of negative earnings estimate revisions for the company.
In fact, Netflix has witnessed 15 downward revisions to its full-year EPS estimates within the past 60 days, against just two positive revisions in that time. Nevertheless, Netflix remains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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