Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) stock traded up 19% to $118.79, erasing the downtrend posted for much of this year as the company surprisingly beat earnings estimates and posted relatively better subscriber numbers for the quarter, followed by positive commentary on Wall Street.
Among notable investment firms, Deutsche Bank, which has an overall bearish outlook for the stock reiterated a Sell rating on Netflix but hiked the price target to $92 following the earnings beat. The firm said it was optimistic about the company’s business model; however, it was rather skeptical on the company’s medium to longer term profit expectations which the investment bank believes are aggressive leading to an overvalued stock market position.
For the third quarter, Deutsche Bank analysts found the consensus earnings estimates too conservative as most analysts were expecting a miss following the company’s ill-received recent price hike as well as the maturing but core domestic US market.
Netflix, on the other hand, proved its original programming was helping differentiate it from close competitors. When Netflix raised its price, its executives were vocally touting a minimal effect on subscriber base, but several investment research firms based on their surveys had raised concerns of a dent in Netflix’s popularity following the price increase.
For the third quarter, Netflix said it added 3.2 million international subscribers – 1.2 million more than its guidance. In the domestic market, Netflix added 370,000 subscribers, ahead of the company’s guidance of 300,000 – driven primarily due to the rollout of selected library items and robust original programming that has sharply cut off the option to switch to a rival service for many. While the domestic subscriber numbers came in better than the prior quarter when Netflix had missed the forecast, the numbers still fell significantly over the same quarter last year when the company had added 880,000 American subscribers.
In its report, Deutsche Bank said potential upside for Netflix going into the near future could be driven by a weaker US Dollar, more increases in the subscriber base, cost-cutting, and the possibility of the company being acquired by a larger media player like Disney.