April 26, 2011 / 1:12 PM / 9 years ago

Analysts confident of Netflix's streaming service growth

(Reuters) - Analysts remained confident of Netflix Inc’s web streaming services growth model, despite a disappointing profit outlook that triggered a sharp fall in the company’s stock price on Monday.

Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings speaks during the launch of streaming internet subscription service for movies and TV shows to TVs and computers in Canada at a news conference in Toronto September 22, 2010. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese

At least four brokerages raised their target price on the company’s stock, citing Netflix’s ability to expand the subscriber base for its online streaming services as the number of connected devices grow.

“Netflix is benefiting from momentum related to appeal of streaming service through more connected devices and set-top boxes, fewer physical DVD rental stores, rapid growth of kiosk outlets... and new subscription venues through mobile devices,” Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney said.

He raised his target price on the stock to $245.

Netflix has signed a number of agreements to build its streaming offerings repertoire. Recent deals include one with Lionsgate for “Mad Men,” with Fox for “Glee,” and with CBS for shows such as “Cheers and “Frasier.”

The top movie rental service provider’s first-quarter results outpaced expectations on higher operating margins but the company’s earnings outlook fell short of expectations.

Analysts, however, remained wary of the high valuation Netflix’s common stock currently trades at.

“Current valuation captures much of the short/medium term potential, in our view,” said Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali, who raised his price-target on the stock to $240 and maintained a “hold” rating.

Shares of Netflix fell 5 percent after its report, a sign that anything less than perfect will not suffice for a company whose stock has nearly tripled over the past year and become a target of short-seller.

They were down 5 percent at $239.07 in trading before the bell, having closed at $251.67 on Monday on Nasdsq.

Reporting by Himank Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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