Published October 22, 2013
Shares of Netflix (NFLX) dropped into the red on Tuesday, erasing earlier gains after the optimism from its strong earnings report was cut short as S&P Capital IQ cut the movie streamer to “sell” from “hold.”
The bearish outlook comes after a slew of upgrades, price target increases and upbeat analyst notes from other brokerages that had Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix trading as high as 9% earlier Tuesday morning.
It also comes after CEO Reed Hastings expressed some modesty during the Netflix conference call, where he warned of mounting euphoria surrounding its rallying stock.
“Every time I read a story about Netflix is the highest depreciating stock in the S&P 500, it worries me because that was the exact headline that we used to see in 2003,” Hastings said on a call with analysts. “We have a sense of momentum, investors driving the stock price more than we might normally. There’s not a lot we can do about it, but I wanted to honestly reflect upon that.”
Netflix was pushed higher Tuesday morning after it announced a quadrupled third-quarter profit on sharply higher subscriber gains, thanks in large part to its popular new original series, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Sales grew 22% to $1.11 billion.
The company had also projected current-quarter earnings of between 47 cents and 73 cents, above average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll of 46 cents.
Despite Capital IQ’s bearishness, which came after the conference call, Netflix earlier on Tuesday was met with a wave of positive notes, including from Evercore (EVR), which upgraded its rating on the movie renter to “equal weight,” citing a lack of meaningful competition.
Shares of Netflix fell about 3% to $343.80 in recent trade, though they remain up about 275% on the year.