Netflix starts 2018 off with a bang—and one technician sees the stock surging even higher

Media stocks heat up — are they a buy in 2018?

Netflix is starting the year off with a bang, rallying 7 percent this week, and one market watcher sees double-digit gains ahead.

From a technical perspective, Netflix is poised to rally about 12 percent from current levels, said Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray. He pointed to bullish momentum in the chart.

"We're still very much in an uptrend. We've corrected right back to the uptrend support line. It looks, to us ... purely based upon the charts ... we could see a measured move up to $230 on Netflix," Johnson said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

The stock rose 55 percent last year, and is up 7 percent in 2018 thus far. The upside comes on the back of bullish analyst coverage out Tuesday morning. Equity analysts at Macquarie upgraded Netflix, raising the firm's rating to outperform from neutral. Analyst Tim Nollen raised price targets on the stock, as well.

"We are upgrading NFLX from Neutral to Outperform as part of a broad realignment of views on media, where we prefer companies with subscription over ad-driven content, and scaled distribution with an international presence," Nollen wrote in a note to clients, adding that the company has "changed the way people watch TV" in an ever-changing media landscape.

Meanwhile, a shift in the way people consume media at large played a part in Nollen's Disney upgrade in a separate research note, in which the stock's price target and rating were raised.

"In an increasingly concentrated space where content is still king but now requires direct-to-consumer distribution, Disney has by far the highest chance of success, in our view," the analyst wrote, adding the Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox marriage is a positive factor.

At this juncture, in the media space, Disney is the clear pick over Netflix if investors are considering the two stocks, said Chad Morganlander, portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, who primarily looks at value names over growth.

To be sure, Disney underperformed the broader market in 2017, rising 3 percent in a raging bull market, while Netflix shares gained 55 percent.

"I would prefer Disney over Netflix. I do know it's an old media company; it's a quality company with quality assets. The real issue is that the entire industry of entertainment is now having these new competitors come in, like the Amazons of the world, Netflix and Google. So the distribution channels have completely changed," Morganlander said Tuesday on "Trading Nation."

"We do like Disney. From a valuation perspective it makes sense, from a credit rating perspective it makes sense. Netflix, on the other hand ... we're value investors. That's more of a momentum name. It is a platform that we believe strongly in over 10 years. We just think that it needs the earnings to fill in, the free cash flow to fill in before we become a little bit more optimistic on that name," he said.

Shares of Netflix rallied 2 percent Wednesday, while Disney shares were modestly higher.

Disclosure: It could not be immediately ascertained if Morganlander has positions in Netflix or Disney.