(Netflix article updated from Wednesday, Jan. 27, with Thursday's Netflix stock movement, analyst commentary and other news related to Netflix competitors.)
The news prompted several brokerage firms to lift their rating on the stocks. As a result, shares of the company are soaring 21.5% on Thursday morning to $61.55. Earlier in the day the stock reached an all-time high of $63.85.
Analyst Barton Crockett of Lazard Capital Markets upped his rating to hold from sell, saying he was surprised that the company's churn, or the percentage subscriber cancellations, declined in the quarter.Churn fell to 3.9% from 4.2% during the quarter. Wedbush Morgan Securities also raised its rating to neutral from underperform and its price target to $60 from $50. The streaming movie and DVD-by-mail pioneer reached 12.3 million subscribers in during the quarter, after its biggest three-month gain in the 11-year history of the company. And Netflix expects to end 2010 with between 15.5 million to 16.3 million subscribers. During the quarter, Netflix earned $30.9 million, or 56 cents a share, a 36% rise from $22.7 million, or 38 cents, in the year-ago period.