NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Netflix (NFLX) are jumping after the company reported stronger than expected fourth quarter results but provided weaker than expected profit guidance. A number of research firms raised their price targets for the stock while pointing out the company's global subscriber growth had exceeded expectations. One analyst bucked the trend with a price target cut.
WHAT'S NEW: Netflix last night reported Q4 earnings per share of 72c, versus analysts' consensus outlook of 45c. The company's revenue came in slightly higher than expected. Netflix added a net total of 4.33M customers last quarter, and expects to add another 4.05M customers this year. However, Netflix provided Q1 EPS guidance of 60c, versus the consensus outlook of 77c. The Internet TV company, which expects to provide its service in 200 countries within the next two years, said that its international growth would weigh on its profits this year.
ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors today, Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein raised his price target on the shares to $483 from $431. Netflix's Q4 net subscriber increase was 8% above analysts' consensus outlook, Helfstein stated. Netflix's original shows will be the key driver of its operating results over the next 6-12 months as well as the company's global profit should grow in 2017 and beyond, the analyst stated. He views the shares as the best way to play the global shift to Internet TV, and kept an Outperform rating on the stock. Stifel analyst Scott Devitt raised his price target on the stock to $500 from $380. The company reported strong Q4 results and provided solid Q1 guidance, according to the analyst, who thinks the company is skillfully handling the transition between slowing but profitable U.S. subscriber growth and international expansion. He kept a Buy rating on the shares. Taking a much more cautious view was FBR Capital analyst Barton Crockett. Excluding non-operating items, Netflix's EPS would only have been in-line with the consensus outlook, Crockett stated. Moreover, the company estimated that its U.S. subscriber growth would slow by 20% in Q1, the analyst stated. Additionally, Netflix intends to launch a more limited, likely less appealing service in many of the new countries it intends to enter, Crockett wrote. He said he is less impressed with Netflix following its results and trimmed his price target on the name to $400 from $425 while keeping a Neutral rating on the shares.
PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Netflix surged 17% to trade near $407 per share.