Netflix shares to surge on big international subscriber gains, analyst predicts

Key Points
  • KeyBanc Capital Markets reiterates its overweight rating on Netflix shares, predicting strong subscriber numbers for the company this year.
  • The firm's analyst believes broadband internet access is growing faster than expected worldwide, boosting the company's market opportunity.
Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc., right, applauds during a news conference in Tokyo, Japan.
Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Netflix's growth in international markets and its large investment in content will boost its shares, according to one Wall Street firm.

KeyBanc Capital Markets reiterated its overweight rating on Netflix shares, predicting strong subscriber numbers for the company this year.

"We see Netflix as the global leader in subscription video in the internet era and continue to recommend owning Netflix," analyst Andy Hargreaves wrote in a note to clients Thursday. "Updated broadband household estimates drive international subscriber expectations higher. … We expect solid 4Q results and see the potential for upside to subscriber estimates through 2018."

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Hargreaves raised his price target to $270 from $230 for Netflix shares, representing 23 percent upside to Thursday's close.

The analyst noted a recent report from the International Telecommunication Union that revealed broadband internet access was rising worldwide faster than expected. That makes Netflix's potential market bigger and "prompts a corresponding increase to our estimates for Netflix's international subscribers in 2018 and beyond," Hargreaves wrote.

As a result, he increased his 2018 global net subscriber forecast for Netflix to 20.6 million from 19.3 million.

Hargreaves said Netflix's large scale and content library will enable the company to beat its competition and produce subscriber growth and profitability "well ahead of current expectations."

Netflix is one of the market's best-performing stocks. Its shares have rallied 59 percent in the past 12 months versus the S&P 500's 24 percent gain.