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Netflix shares on the up ahead of first quarter reveal

Netflix Inc reports first quarter results after the bell today
Netflix shares on the up ahead of first quarter reveal
Broker Wedbush has run the rule over Netflix

Shares in Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) rose on Monday ahead of the film streaming specialist releasing first quarter results after the bell.

Shares in New York are up 2.7% to $146.85 a pop as the market appears to expect a strong set of numbers.

There's no arguing Netflix has been on no mean growth trajectory since starting life as a mail order DVD rental service.

Last year, the group had more than 44mln international subscribers at the end of 2016, nearly 50% higher than the year before, as well as 49 million in the US.

But there have been question  marks about how it can maintain a break-neck pace against increasing competition.

Wedbush worries on cashburn..

Broker Wedbush has been one to voice such worries. Last week, it repeated an 'underperform' rating on the stock.

The group's cashburn continues to trouble the broker against a backdrop of increased competition and a need to increase its content library.

"As the cost of content continues to be bid up, we expect Netflix to continue to burn cash to fund its acquisition of original and exclusive content.

"We expect international profitability to remain elusive driven by increasing competition for both content and subscribers, while domestic growth decelerates," says analyst Michael Pachter, though he concedes the broker has "consistently been wrong" about the company.

He expects revenue in the first quarter of $2.64bn and EPS (earnings per share) of $0.31 compared consensus for revenue of $2.64bn and EPS of $0.37, and guidance for EPS of $0.37.

"We saw little advertising from Netflix during the quarter, suggesting it was tracking to its guidance.

"We see an uptick in content quality launched in Q2, and expect another solid subscriber figure, but expect cash burn to remain at the $500 million quarterly level, offsetting the company's net income by over $300 million."

Wedbush says Netflix is expected to spend $7bn on content in 2017 and to grow its capitalized balance by $2.5bn, to over $9.5bn.

Content spending to spiral..?

"We see few bona fide hits in the Netflix lineup that are actually owned by the company, and think that content spending will spiral upward due to competition and Netflix's desire to continue to grow its library."

The 12 month Wedbush price target is $68 compared to a current price of $146.43.

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October 18 2016
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