Wall Street analysts get nervous about Netflix

Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
Harriet Taylor | CNBC

Normally, Wall Street analysts don't downgrade a stock the day of an all-time high.

Why rain on your clients' parade?

But an analyst from Societe Generale did just that to Netflix on Wednesday, cutting the shares all the way to "sell" from "buy" at noon ET just after shares of the video streaming company hit $706.24, making them a double for 2015.

Citigroup's Mark May piled on Thursday morning with a downgrade to "neutral" from "buy."

Not to mention the man who started it all, activist-turned-amazing stock picker Carl Icahn, who caused the Wednesday bearish turnaround in the stock by saying he sold out of the last of his Netflix stake.

After these three strikes, Netflix's stock is off more than 7 percent from that all-time high.

Here's what's got Wall Street so concerned...

What's interesting about both analyst notes is that they start with mentions of the stock's gains this year.

So the No. 1 concern is valuation.

"We now estimate the current valuation discounts very rosy assumptions to 2025," wrote Cherblanc. "We consequently believe the shares' risk/reward has considerably deteriorated, and we downgrade our recommendation to sell."

"When looking at more traditional valuation metrics (i.e., earnings multiples based on near-term consolidated results), NFLX looks expensive relative to peers, which reinforces our view that valuation may not have meaningful near-term upside," wrote Citigroup's May. "Shares are up 99 percent YTD, 43 percent since the 1Q15 (earnings) report, 49 percent since our 4/10/15 upgrade, and now trade only 6 percent below our $722 target."

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May also makes the contrarian point that his peers on Wall Street are the most bullish on Netflix's stock in 10 years.

More than 60 percent of analysts recommend buying Netflix, according to FactSet. Thirty percent say "hold" and just 9 percent recommend selling.

So there's not many people left to say "buy" and boost the stock.

Both analysts raise concerns about investors being too bullish on Netflix's rollout to China and other international markets. There are likely to be some hiccups that hit the stock along the way.

Cherblanc wrote that there are a lot of headwinds difficult to predict like piracy in China. And those headwinds get stronger in markets such as India, Russia and Taiwan.

Only 10 percent penetration may be achievable by Netflix in the latter countries because of "low purchasing power, piracy issues or a history of very strong local online incumbents," wrote Cherblanc.

Netflix reports second quarter earnings July 15.

Citigroup points out that the shares traded lower after its second quarter and third quarter earnings reports the last three years.

So it may be time to stop binging on the shares until the end of the year.

Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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