Netflix Shares Rocketing As Analysts Swoon Over 4Q Report

The stock price is up about 23% in mid-afternoon trading to roughly $117, a level it hasn’t seen since October — although still far below the $300 peak from July, when Netflix decoupled its DVD rental  and streaming video businesses. Just about everybody was taken aback by the strong subscription numbers in the 4Q report the company issued last night. The biggest surprise was the 220,000 increase in U.S. streaming customers, bringing the total to 21.7M. Credit Suisse analyst John Blackledge increased his price target to $125 from $100, saying that Netflix’s “competitive positioning is strong” and could defy skeptics this year by continuing to attract and keep viewers. Eric Wold of B. Riley & Co also says the results reinforce his view that “Netflix maintains a superior relative content/cost position with consumers.” Susquehanna Financial Group’s Vasily Karasyov raised his target price to $95 from $60. He now projects that the company will end the year losing 9 cents a share as opposed to his previous forecast of a 22 cent loss. But Wedbush & Co’s Michael Pachter — who warned investors early this week to expect bad news in the year-end report — says he’s unfazed, keeping his price target at $45. (more…)

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