Where have all of Netflix's
Shares of the DVD rental service fell this morning, after analyst Barton Crockett from Lazard Capital Markets downgraded them.
Crockett is concerned about the company's ability to keep growing at a healthy pace, predicting that year-end subscribers clocked in at the low end of the company's guidance of 12 million to 12.3 million accounts.
He's not alone.
Citigroup and Merriman Curhan Ford downgraded the stock last month. You have to go all the way back to the summer to find the latest time a major analyst has upgraded shares of Netflix.
In theory, this is just when Netflix likes its analysts. The company has beaten Wall Street's bottom-line targets in each of the six previous quarters, growing recessionary wings at a time when many consumer-based subscription services struggled.
Analysts fear that the company's strategy of spending to widen its library of streaming flicks and television shows will keep margins in check, but I see it as a great subscriber retention tool.
After all, Apple
In the meantime, Netflix is aggressively padding its celluloid moat. I'm not a big fan of the second-citizenry implications of its recent deal to give Time Warner
Along the way, what does it say about Netflix that it has been able to beat analyst expectations save for a few rare quarters? The company, quite frankly, knows how to manage expectations and align its costs to generate applause-worthy profitability.
Hating on Netflix has been a dangerous pastime. It's not likely it will be any different in the future.
Are you growing bearish on Netflix? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix subscriber -- and shareholder -- since 2002. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.
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