Netflix's Strong Results Prompts Macquarie To Back Off Bearish Stance

By Tomi KilgoreMarketsMarketWatch Pulse

Netflix Inc.'s stock ran up 6.6% in premarket trade Thursday after a better-than-expected quarterly report, prompting Macquarie Research to back off its bearish stance on the video streaming company. Analyst Tim Nollen upgraded Netflix to neutral from underperform, and raised his stock price target to $135 from $85, which was 36% below Wednesday's closing price of $133.26. Nollen said that while he remains cautious Netflix's free cash flow burn in the face of rising competition, subscribers are what drives the stock, and strong sub additions during the fourth quarter has eased some of his concerns. "We're not going to fight the trends: Netflix is doing a good job driving subs with a wealth of content that is proving popular," Nollen wrote in a note to clients. The stock has rallied 9.4% year to date through Wednesday, while the S&P 500 has gained 6%.

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