Shares of on-demand entertainment platform Netflix Inc. (NFLX), already up nearly 90% year-to-date (YTD), have more room to run, according to some bulls on Wall Street, who expect traction in the burgeoning Indian market to propel the stock back near its all time-high.
(See also: Why Netflix Could Rally 30%.)
India as an 'Under-Appreciated Long-Term Opportunity'
In a note to clients on Wednesday, Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris lifted his 12-month price target on Netflix stock by 44% to $420, implying a 15.4% upside from Wednesday afternoon, as outlined by CNBC. Trading down about 1% at $364.06, Netflix stock has sharply outperformed the S&P 500's 8.9% gain and the Nasdaq Composite Index's 15.1% return in 2018.
Morris suggested that Wall Street is underestimating Netflix's international streaming business opportunity, citing locally produced content offerings and upgrades to the user experience in the world’s most populous democratic country. He views a surge in demand in India, where he estimates about 78 million middle class consumers can afford Netflix's service, to warrant a higher valuation for the Silicon Valley tech titan.
"We believe that Netflix subscriber penetration will significantly exceed what is implied in the company's current valuation," wrote Morris, as cited by CNBC. "We expect the 3Q launch of original local-market content in India, upgrades to user experience and consumer products development to support share appreciation."
The Guggenheim analyst forecasts Netflix's India subscriber base to grow to 5.5 million by 2020, while the region remains "an under-appreciated long-term opportunity." He added that an improving broadband infrastructure and a growing middle class population of smartphone users make India a more attractive addressable market for the streaming industry leader.
While Netflix missed Wall Street's estimates for subscriber gains in Q2, with 5.15 million new memberships compared to the consensus at 6.34 million, Guggenheim expects Netflix's international business to help it beat forecasts in upcoming quarters.
(For more, see also: Netflix Draws With HBO, Amazon Sweeps Comedy at Emmys.)