Netflix shares powered to another all-time record high Wednesday, climbing more than 3% in morning trading, after a prominent Wall Street analyst significantly raised the price target on the stock.
The stock was trading at $375.24 per share as of 11:45 a.m. ET. Netflix shares are up more than 95% year to date, and the company’s market capitalization (currently north of $164 billion) recently surpassed Disney’s. [UPDATE: Netflix stock finished the day up 4.4%, to an all-time high closing price of $379.93 per share.]
The movement was driven by Goldman Sachs’ Heath Terry raising his price target on Netflix stock to $490 per share — up from $390 previously, and the highest among Wall Street analysts who cover the company.
“We believe [Netflix’s] growing content offering and expanding distribution ecosystem will continue to drive subscriber growth above consensus expectations,” Terry wrote in the note. He added, “While our target multiple represents a clear premium relative to the sector, we believe it largely reflects Netflix’s long-term subscriber and margin potential.”
Netflix continues to burn cash and has told investors that it will generate negative cash flow for the next few years. Goldman Sachs is forecasting sub-growth momentum continuing to the point at which revenue outpaces its spending, with Netflix achieving $500 million in positive free cash flow by 2020. That’s based on Terry’s projection that Netflix will add a net 34 million subscribers in 2019 (versus analyst consensus estimate of 26 million).
The dizzying rise of Netflix’s shares is separate from the event that’s spurring the rise of several other media stocks: The ruling approving the AT&T-Time Warner merger, in a defeat to the Trump administration’s Justice Department antitrust case.
On Wednesday, gainers included Time Warner (+3.2%) and 21st Century Fox (+7.5%). Fox’s entertainment assets are expected to trigger a bidding war between Comcast (-0.7% in midday trading) and Disney (+2.6%), after Comcast said last month it was prepared to outbid Disney for the 21CF assets.
Pictured above: Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings