Netflix cancels recession

Netflix Inc.’s earnings report couldn’t fully satisfy investors, but it was good enough to prompt a bevy of bullish analyst calls, with even the most bearish on Wall Street boosting his price target.

The streaming video giant reported late Thursday earnings and all-important net subscriber additions that handily beat expectations, while revenue came up a bit shy. With the stock NFLX, -3.99% soaring 51% in the weeks leading up to the results, investors’ expectations were running high — AKA always be buying the dip nerds!

As usual, after the fact an overwhelming majority of Wall Street analysts got a little more bullish. Of the analysts surveyed by FactSet, no less than 17 raised their price target, while only two lowered them. That raised the average target to $403.56, which is about 19% above current levels, from an average of $391.31 just before the release of results. The average rating remained at the equivalent of buy. Raymond James’s Justin Patterson reiterated the “strong buy” rating he’s had on the shares for at least the past three years, and lifted his target to $470 from $450, saying Netflix’s global distribution advantage is becoming increasingly clear.

Piper Jaffray’s Michael Olson affirmed his overweight rating and boosted his price target to $440 from $430, but acknowledged that Netflix’s fourth quarter results and first-quarter outlook were “mixed,” as domestic subscriber adds fell short of his expectations.

“The single most important metric to investors, however, is international subscriber additions and that was ahead of expectations for the quarter and the guide,” Olson wrote. And with just 15% share of internet households outside of the U.S., excluding China, “there’s clearly room to grow international.”

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