Netflix hits all-time high as Wall Street gushes over its ‘unmatched’ platform

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

Mark Neuling | CNBC
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.

Netflix shares are surging Tuesday as Wall Street proclaimed the company’s utter dominance of the internet video streaming market after it crushed subscriber expectations.

The company added 5.2 million memberships during the second quarter compared to the Wall Street consensus of 3.2 million driven by international subscriber growth.

Netflix’s “growing distribution ecosystem and expanding addressable base, we believe that Netflix remains on track in building out an unmatched global entertainment platform,” Goldman’s Heath Terry wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.

The streaming giant is one of the market’s best-performing names as its shares have rallied more than 30 percent this year through Monday versus the S&P 500’s 10 percent return. Netflix shares opened up 9 percent Tuesday morning to a new all-time high.

“We continue to recommend owning NFLX. The company’s global scale and ability to mass-personalize content and marketing is fueling subscriber growth that few competitors are positioned to match,” KeyBanc Capital’s Andy Hargreaves wrote in a note to clients Monday. “This should fuel revenue and subscriber growth at least in line with expectations while expanding barriers to entry.”

Analysts emphasized the importance of Netflix’s high quality original content such as “Orange is the New Black,” “13 Reasons Why” and “House of Cards” which sparked the positive results.

“We believe the rapidly growing content offering, led by originals that in aggregate garnered 91 Emmy nominations last week, drove the stronger new sign-ups in 2Q,” Morgan Stanley’s Benjamin Swinburne wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Netflix’s growing exclusive original content slate has somewhat of a multiplier effect on growth, as content distributors around the world continue to go through an evolution in their approach to Netflix.”

Morgan Stanley reiterated its overweight rating for Netflix and raised its price target for the shares to $210 from $185. Goldman Sachs also reaffirmed its buy rating and increased its price forecast to $200 from $175. Netflix shares closed at $161.70 on Monday.

Netflix noted how the second quarter broke two important records for the company.

“We also crossed the symbolic milestones of 100 million members and more international than domestic members. It was a good quarter,” Netflix wrote its shareholder letter for the second quarter.

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this story.

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