Netflix Inc. (NFLX), which has little exposure to China, may become a surprise safe haven of the U.S.-China trade war as it fares better than many tech stocks. One reason is the on-demand streaming giant is growing rapidly in countries around the world outside of China, including India, the world's second most populous nation. This is buffering the stock now and may make it even more attractive as the trade war drags on.
Netflix is still up 32% this year, way ahead of the major indexes and most of its fellow FAANG member stocks. The streaming giant is one reason that investors have not completely abandoned tech stocks even as they have bulked up on defense, utilities, real estate and staples amid the trade tensions, according to Barron's, which says investors appear to still like tech, but not hardware tech companies. That's why Netflix has held up relatively well while hardware stocks exposed to China have plunged dramatically, such as Apple (AAPL) and the chip stocks (SOXX), including Broadcom Inc. (AVGO).
Netflix Vs. Hardware Stocks
(% Fall From 2019 highs)
- Netflix -9%
- Apple -15%
- Broadcom -18%
- Chip Stocks - 17%
Rapid Global Growth
To be sure, Netflix's stock has pulled back this spring on more than trade concerns. The company is facing the prospect of heated competition in the streaming space, with Apple announcing its own subscription service earlier this year and other deep pocketed companies like Walt Disney Co. (DIS) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) adding content.
But Netflix is positioned for global growth perhaps better than any rival. Imperial Capital analyst David Miller, who rates Netflix stock at outperform, notes that its programming created in foreign markets is working to lift viewership both abroad and in the U.S. “Too many media investors think of Netflix’s international business as simply U.S. content that is dubbed in various foreign languages, but in many cases the inverse of that is starting to take hold,” wrote Miller. This means that while Netflix stock has defensive appeal in the short term, it also offers growth. Miller expects Netflix to gain near 32% to $463.
Netflix also is making headway in India, the world's second most populous nation with more than 1.3 billion people, four times bigger than the U.S. and not far behind No. 1 China. In India, Netflix now has 20 local language original films and 12 original series produced in the subcontinent, per Marketwatch.
The streaming giant also is expanding its footprint in Japan, where it has reportedly moved into fifth place and “appears on track to continue surging, says RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney, per MarketWatch. His price price target for Netflix is $480, a 37% gain from today.