NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The shares of Netflix (NFLX - Get Report) are surging after the company reported stronger than expected second quarter results, including higher than expected Q2 subscriber metrics. Many research firms responded by raising their price targets on the stock, but Bernstein was an outlier, warning that the company's long-term U.S. subscriber growth outlook is unrealistic.
BACKGROUND: Netflix reported Q2 EPS of 6c, versus the consensus outlook of 4c. Its Q2 subscriber totals and its Q3 subscriber guidance both came in above the consensus outlook.
BULLISH TAKE: Cowen analyst John Blackledge hiked his price target on Netflix to $150 from $109, calling the company's results "stellar." Netflix's subscriber metrics beat expectations by a large amount, according to Blackledge, who now predicts that the company will have 70M U.S. subscribers and about 104M international subscribers in 2020. FBR Capital analyst Barton Crockett increased his target on Netflix to $142 from $129, saying that the company's growth has been stronger than FBR anticipated while its costs are dropping. Crockett added that the firm's surveys indicate consumers like Netflix as much or more than pay TV, supporting the idea that the company's subscriber metrics and pricing should increase.
BEARISH TAKE: Bernstein analyst Carlos Kirjner continues to believe that Netflix's long-term U.S. subscriber guidance of 60M-90M is unrealistic. In order to achieve the midpoint of that range by 2020, about 90% of U.S. consumers with high speed Internet capability would have to sign up for the service, Kirjner believes. Such an outcome is "extremely unlikely" and Netflix's U.S. subscriber base probably won't exceed 58M over the next five years, said Kirjner, who additionally thinks the company's overseas margins are unlikely to reach the levels it enjoys at home given more intense competition abroad. The analyst kept a $62 price target and Underperform rating on Netflix shares.
WHAT'S NOTABLE: In other Netflix news, the company was granted a motion of summary judgment invalidating all five of the remaining Rovi (ROVI) patents that were being contested. JPMorgan analyst Sterling Auty predicted Rovi shares would sell off on the news as investors consider how the ruling impacts the company's upcoming contract renewals with Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report), Time Warner Cable (TWC), DirecTV (DTV - Get Report) and DISH (DISH - Get Report), adding that the "big 4" choosing to litigate against Rovi is "certainly a possibility." Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson, conversely, said the court outcome, while unfavorable for Rovi, was expected and is immaterial to his estimates.
PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Netflix rose 12.8% to $110.73. Earlier in the session, the stock hit a split-adjusted all-time high of $111.10 per share. Meanwhile, Rovi fell 20% to $14 per share.