If you want to see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, you can rent it from Netflix
The Good? Once again, growth has outpaced expectations. Netflix initially guided investors to expect revenue of between $94 million and $99 million. Now, it's raising both bookends by $2 million. Moreover, the company is looking to close out next month with 1.86 million to 1.94 million subscribers, which is also higher than previous expectations.
The Bad? While Netflix closed out 2003 in profitable fashion, it had already braced shareholders for a narrow first-quarter deficit. But, to borrow from another Clint Eastwood epic, the loss is going to be A Fistful of Dollars more than the $1.2 million to $3.7 million expected. Netflix is now looking to post a quarterly loss of at least $5.6 million and possibly as high as $8.1 million. The shortfall might be explained away as the acquisition cost of the company's heady market penetration, but the market isn't buying.
The Ugly? While the shares moved higher initially, they ultimately dipped in after-hours trading. Often, Wall Street will look beyond a bit of red ink to focus on sensational growth; however, stocks that come so far, so fast are priced with high expectations. We first highlighted Netflix in the October 2002 edition of TMF Select -- now Tom Gardner'sMotley Fool Hidden Gems -- at a split-adjusted $5.45 a share. It's still a gem, but it's not exactly hidden anymore.
For all that, the fear of competitive threats from the likes of Wal-Mart
The company's working on it and that's a good thing. Not having a solid game plan for tomorrow would be best described as -- help me here one last time, Clint -- Unforgiven.
With so many Oscar-worthy flicks hitting the rental market these days, have any that you would care to recommend? What was the best Clint Eastwood film of all time? It wasn't Space Cowboys, was it? All this and more -- in the Great Movies discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a satisfied Netflix user since 2002. He also owns shares. The stock also offered a 180% gain last year in Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter.