Streaming-TV company Netflix (NFLX 1.54%) has set a date for its second-quarter earnings report: July 20. While Netflix's second-quarter update is still over a month away, it's not stopping analysts from beginning to ponder whether or not the stock is a buy ahead of earnings.
JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth released a note to investors on Wednesday expressing a bullish view for the stock, based on both potentially stronger-than-expected Q2 results and the possibility of upside for the business in the second half of the year.
Why Netflix stock could rise 22%
Anmuth, who has a $600 12-month price target for the growth stock -- 22% above where shares were priced at the end of trading on Wednesday -- believes there's potential upside to the consensus analyst forecast for Netflix's Q2 subscriber additions, he said in his note. Netflix management guided for just 1 million new members in Q2.
Analyst estimates typically don't stray far from management's guidance since the company's forecasts aim for accuracy rather than conservatism. Indeed, this is why the company misses its own guidance sometimes, including in Q1. Management had said it expected to add 6 million new members during the quarter, but it actually added just 4 million.
Whatever happens in Q2, the analyst's bullish view is mostly predicated on the second half of the year, thanks to a strong content slate from the company. Indeed, he believes the company could pack more content hits into six months than it's ever done in its history.
Going into Netflix's second-quarter update next month, investors should keep in mind that the company is going up against some incredibly tough year-ago comparisons. This explains management's guidance for just 1 million new subscribers during the quarter.
"The extraordinary events of Covid-19 led to unprecedented membership growth in 2020, as it pulled forward growth from 2021," Netflix management explained in the company's first-quarter shareholder letter. As consumers were in lockdown and looked for ways to stay entertained, Netflix added an incredible 37 million new members last year -- far more than the 28 million it added in 2019.
Of course, investors will likely also be curious about what management will guide for subscriber growth in Q3. The year-ago comparisons start to get much easier in the second half of the year, with Netflix adding 10.7 million new subscribers during the second half of 2020, compared to nearly 25.9 million during the first half of 2020.
Investors will get answers about the company's second-quarter results and management's view for Q3 when Netflix reports earnings after market close on Tuesday, July 20.