Morgan Stanley slashes Netflix price target before earnings, third firm to do so this week

  • Morgan Stanley cutS its 12-month forecast for Netflix.
  • The firm is the third on Wall Street this week to cut its outlook on the stock ahead of earnings, joining Goldman Sachs and Raymond James.
  • Deutsche Bank also says it believes Netflix shares "upside is limited in the short term."
Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc.
Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc.

Morgan Stanley cut its 12-month price target for Netflix, citing global trends like the strong dollar and rising interest rates as upping the online streaming service's expenses. Netflix is expected to report earnings after the bell Tuesday.

The firm is the third on Wall Street this week to cut its outlook on the stock ahead of earnings, following Goldman Sachs and Raymond Jameson Monday.

"Longer term, we expect Netflix will continue to invest and market behind its ramping global original programming and we raise long-term marketing expenses [as a percent] of revenues by ~100 [basis points versus our] prior forecast," Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne said in a note. "We also raise the incremental cost of debt based on rising interest rates, with Netflix still needing to raise an additional ~$5 [billion] of debt over the next two years before reaching positive free cash flow in 2021."

Morgan Stanley now has a price target on Netflix of $450 a share, down from $480 a share.

Despite the cut, Netflix shares closed up 4 percent at $346.40 a share. The stock slid 1.9 percent on Monday and is coming off a 6.1 percent drop last week, when technology stocks were battered amid a broader market sell-off from concerns over rising interest rates, escalating trade tensions and tighter monetary policy.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, Deutsche Bank expects Netflix to report in line third-quarter earnings, saying in a note Tuesday that Netflix will also give a "better than expected" forecast for the fourth quarter.

"The risk/reward skews to the upside going into this earnings report," Deutsche's Bryan Kraft said in a note. "That said, we think the upside is limited in the short term."

Deutsche Bank has a $350 a share price target on Netflix.

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