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Netflix Earnings: What Wall Street's Thinking

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX) shares are rocketing this morning, gaining 22.15% to $213.00 after the online entertainment company posted better-than-expected results.

The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company earned 31 cents per share on $1.02 billion in revenue for the first quarter. Analysts polled by both Thomson Reuters and Estimize were looking for earnings of 19 cents per share on $1.02 billion in sales.

For the second quarter, Netflix said it expects earnings to be between 23 cents and 48 cents per share on a revenue range between $821 million and $843 million. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters are looking for earnings of 30 cents per share.

Wall Street analysts are largely positive after the results, with many of them seeing Netflix becoming even more mainstream in the future.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward S. Williams (Outperform, $205 PT):

"Netflix posted significantly better-than-expected results for the March quarter driven by higher-than-anticipated revenues and margins in all three operating segments, partly offset by higher-than-expected operating expenses. The solid performance in the March quarter combined with a better-than-expected outlook for the June quarter (aided by the upcoming release of Arrested Development: Season 4) augers well for the company in 2013 and beyond."

Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein (Perform, $195 PT):

"First-quarter results exceeded expectations on contribution margins and a one-time R&D tax credit. However, metrics suggest churn has stabilized, as the company is seeing subs growing faster than marketing, driving contribution margins. Meanwhile, international contribution losses were lower than expected, with continued growth in 2Q subs and reduced losses."

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth (Overweight, $254 PT):

"Coming out of 1Q earnings we reiterate our Overweight rating on Netflix and are raising our price target to $254. Netflix put together a 2nd straight quarter of strong results and we continue to believe the company is back on track toward significantly disrupting the linear TV market."

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali (Buy, $230 PT):

"1Q:13 results were ahead on virtually every metric, showing that Netflix is not only popular as a service, but that the model continues to show operating leverage, proving one of the bears' theses wrong. With its expanding content selection, line-up of exclusive/proprietary titles and improving personalization, Netflix holds a unique position to benefit disproportionately from the rise of Internet TV, in our view. We're raising our PT to $230."

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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