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Not Everyone Is Cooling on Netflix

By Rick Munarriz – Jul 20, 2016 at 3:10PM

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Two Wall Street analysts actually raised their price targets for the streaming pioneer following its gloomy report.

Image source: Netflix.

There is no shortage of analysts hosing down their price targets on Netflix (NFLX -2.44%) this week. The leading premium video service falling short of its subscriber goal for the second quarter -- and offering uninspiring guidance for the current period -- rocked the stock. 

Shares of Netflix plunged 13% on Tuesday, and most analysts nudged their price goals lower. Most of them didn't tweak their actual stock ratings, but it was a pretty lengthy list of Wall Street pros lowering their targets. 

  • MKM Partners adjusted its price goal from $145 to $130.
  • Jefferies went from $80 to $76.
  • UBS downgraded the stock, taking its price target from $130 to $92.
  • Cantor moved its price goal from $130 to $120.
  • KeyBanc went from $130 to $125.
  • RBC Capital adjusted its price from $140 to $130.
  • Canaccord went from $120 to $115.
  • Cowen took its price target from $130 to $110.
  • Oppenheimer went from $123 to $114.
  • FBR tweaked its goal from $104 to $90.
  • JPMorgan went from $125 to $116.

There are probably a few names that I may have missed. The odd thing is that not every forecast moved lower. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter had turned heads earlier in the month with his bearish treatise and $45 price target. He remains one of the more vocal bears on Wall Street, but he actually propped his target up to $50 following the report. 

Then we get to Credit Suisse. Analyst Stephen Ju remains neutral on the stock, but he increased his price target from $119 to $122 following the report.  

Bucking the trend

Ju didn't snooze through the report. He realizes that the mixed showing (Netflix fell short of his top-line forecast, but comfortably ahead of its profit goal) and more importantly the weak subscriber growth and guidance will weigh on the stock in the near term. 

However, he also sees healthy gross adds, suggesting that the low subscriber growth is more the handiwork of longtime users canceling their plans ahead of this summer's price hike than a lack of Netflix to attract new viewers. If that's the case, things should start getting back to normal once the increase to folks paying $1 or $2 less a month than new subscribers is complete. Things also could get better come late August once the Olympics are over and folks are looking for new things to watch.

The current quarter could be a mess. Everything from the Olympics to the Pokemon Go phenomenon that is sweeping the nation could slow Netflix usage and subscriber growth. The 2.3 million in net member additions that Netflix is targeting for the current quarter is well short of the 3.62 million it tacked on a year earlier. 

However, in light of Tuesday's slide, Credit Suisse's price target of $122 represents 42% in upside off of Tuesday's close. That's a pretty good price target for an analyst with a neutral rating on the stock, and it's yet another reason why not everyone is ready to give up on Netflix.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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