SunTrust: Buy Netflix Shares After Pullback

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey now says Netflix Inc. (NFLX) shares are a Buy, up from a Hold, after their recent pullback.

The stock, up 1.8% in pre-market trade, has generally declined since about mid-July, easing back from strong momentum after it missed second-quarter projections on subscriber numbers. So far this year, the stock is up 77% and in the past 52 weeks it has risen 101%.

SunTrust analyst Matthew Thornton lowered his price target on Netflix shares to $410 from $415, a roughly 21% upside on Friday’s closing price. He noted that Netflix is having significant success in international markets.

"The stock pullback post the 2Q subs miss (which we attribute to '13 Reasons Why' and World Cup, as previewed) leaves us with ~20% potential upside from current levels,” Thornton wrote in a note. "More important, our India study shows NFLX initial original series resonating quite well with interest in NFLX rising (including relative to competitors) into more originals coming."

Netflix Subscriber Numbers

Netflix reported 5.15 million new sign-ups in the second quarter, lower than the 6.34 million Wall Street analysts were expecting. (See also: Netflix Wants to Avoid Apple Store Fees.)

For the third quarter, based on a web search trend analysis, Thornton expects the company to see healthy subscriber growth.

“Our Subscriber Tracker (through July) points to 3Q Domestic/Int'l subs tracking solidly in-line/ahead," he wrote, also noting that "NFLX hasn't missed subs two quarters in a row since 2012 and recent price increases in Japan and app store billing tests may be suggestive of solid sub trends"  

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