Updated from 8:16 a.m. EST to include Pacific Crest analyst comments.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix (NFLX) shares rocketed in Thursday trading, after the Los Gatos Calif.-based firm blew past Wall Street estimates and the company surpassed 33 million streaming subscribers.
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Netflix earned 79 cents a share on $1.175 billion in revenue, ending the quarter with 33.42 million streaming subscribers, of whom 31.71 million were paying members. The company continues to make great strides internationally, adding 1.74 million subscribers around the world during the quarter, taking it to 10.93 million users. Streaming margins hit 23% in the fourth quarter.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting Netflix to earn 66 cents a share on $1.17 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter.
Shares of Netflix were surging in Thursday trading, gaining 15.6% to $385.85.
Netflix said it expects to reach 30% contribution margin in 2015, but noted that once that level is reached it would get harder to keep growing at 400 basis points per year.Netflix said it expects to have over 35 million streaming subscribers (35.67 million) by the end of the first quarter of 2014, with 34.26 million of them paying subscribers. For the first quarter, Netflix expects to earn 78 cents a share, above the consensus estimate of 76 cents a share.
Wall Street analysts were by and large supremely bullish on the note, with the first $500 price target on shares, following the results. NFLX data by YCharts
JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth (Overweight, $500 PT)
"Netflix reported strong 4Q results with domestic streaming subs toward the high end of guidance, and international subs and profitability showing greater upside. 4Q domestic net adds of 2.33M were 14% higher than a year ago, an acceleration from 10% growth in 3Q. Netflix expects 4Q's momentum to continue in 1Q and guided to 11% Y/Y growth in net adds, though we think this could prove conservative given the launch of season 2 of House of Cards along with the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad, both coming in February."
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