Netflix faces major risk heading into earnings, money manager says

Netflix bulls have been rewarded this year, to say the least. With the stock’s more than 110 percent gain so far in 2018 and what some Wall Street analysts see as an unchallenged perch in the streaming space, Netflix is far outpacing the market and many of its peers in media.

But risks surround the high-growth stock. Ahead of Netflix’s quarterly earnings report set for Monday, Mark Tepper, president and CEO of Strategic Wealth Partners, identified what to watch for in the report and what he calls the stock’s biggest risk right now. Here’s what he told CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

• When a stock is trading at more than $400 per share, with a trailing price-earnings ratio in the triple digits, and a gain of more than 100 percent year to date, the biggest question becomes at what point can the stock no longer realize that kind of extreme growth.

• In its upcoming earnings report, the company’s subscriber base is the metric to watch. Netflix expects to add 1.2 million subscribers domestically, and another 5 million internationally in the second quarter.

• When it comes to the biggest risk right now, it’s all about the prospect of its competitors upping the ante on its content’s quality. At this point, Netflix has been able to stay ahead of the pack with its content’s quality, but headwinds could arise if competitors like Hulu, Disney or Amazon Prime develop more original content.

UBS downgraded Netflix on Thursday due to its high valuation, but raised its price target to $425, implying roughly 3 percent of upside. Netflix closed down 1.2 percent on Thursday.

Bottom line: Ahead of Netflix’s earnings report on Monday, one money manager says the biggest risk to the stock is whether its competitors will up the ante on their original content.

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.

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Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET). In addition, he contributes to CNBC and CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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