Netflix Inc. was downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS, which cited valuation after a pronounced rally in the video-streaming company.
Thus far this year, Netflix is up more than 60%, making it one of the ten best performers in the S&P 500, which is down 2.3% for 2020. The stock has also gained more than 75% off a March low, a rally that has lifted it to repeated records and widened the company’s market cap lead over Walt Disney Co.
Shares rose 0.3% in premarket trading.
UBS’s move comes just days before the July 16 release of Netflix’s second-quarter results, and while the firm expects to see “a widespread benefit” from the pandemic favoring indoor entertainment options, the benefit of this trend appears priced in at current levels, analyst Eric Sheridan wrote. He reiterated his $535 price target.
At current levels, “investor fears seem to have disappeared and the current stock price increasingly reflects many of the long-term business moat dynamics,” he wrote. While the company’s long-term narrative remains intact, “we would rather be constructive at levels when a mix of potential subscriber volatility, FCF dynamics & competition are better reflected in the share price.”
UBS is not the only firm to grow somewhat cautious about Netflix at current levels. Wedbush reiterated its underperform rating on Tuesday, warning that despite a tailwind from shelter-in-place orders, “we expect content spending to trigger substantial cash burn for many years.” The firm raised its price target to $220 from $198, but warned that “competition for both content and subscribers may slow growth and limit the potential for price increases.”
Recently, Rosenblatt Securities wrote that it “struggle[s] to see the upside” from current levels given “uncertainty over how [long] this favorable environment will last.” Imperial Capital downgraded the stock last week.
Currently, the average price target on Netflix shares stands near $476, implying downside of about 10% from current levels.