Netflix shares rise after Deutsche Bank says it's been wrong on the stock and upgrades to buy

  • Deutsche Bank raises its rating for Netflix shares to buy from hold, predicting the company will generate strong international subscriber growth this year.
  • "Netflix has changed the industry in a profound way and in doing so has given itself a significant lead, making it very difficult for the traditional media companies, or even other big tech companies, to catch up," the firm says.
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
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Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix

Deutsche Bank upgraded Netflix shares to buy from hold, saying it had misjudged how to value the high-flying stock and the potential for international growth.

"What's evolved with respect to our view on the stock is that Netflix has changed the industry in a profound way and in doing so has given itself a significant lead, making it very difficult for the traditional media companies, or even other big tech companies, to catch up," analyst Bryan Kraft wrote in a note to clients Friday entitled "Upgrading To Buy: Catch Netflix If You Can."

Netflix shares closed up 2.4 percent Friday.

The analyst raised his price target for Netflix shares to $350 from $240, representing 13 percent upside to Thursday's close.

Kraft predicts Netflix will add 23.7 million international subscribers this year versus the Wall Street consensus of 19.6 million. He also projects the company will reach 217 million subscribers in international markets by 2025.

Netflix had 63 million international subscribers at end of 2017.

"Netflix continues to capitalize on this lead by reinvesting in content, marketing, and the user experience; which is growing subscribers and making it more of a magnet for talent, further extending the company's lead," he wrote. "Netflix's lead and competitive advantage gives the company more levers than ever to pull in order to drive revenue and cash flow growth over the course of time."

The company is one of the best-performing stocks in the market this year, up 61 percent through Thursday versus the market's roughly flat return. Netflix's stock performance ranks No. 2 in the entire S&P 500.