Netflix’s stock powered to another record close Monday, with shares ending the day up 4.6%, as investors rallied around a pair of upbeat Wall Street analyst reports and the company’s Oscar win Sunday.
Netflix has been on a stock-market tear recently, and the new high comes after the shares hit a record high last Friday. At Monday’s closing price of $315.00 per share, Netflix now has a market capitalization of more than $136 billion. In just over two months, the stock has soared 57% since Jan. 2.
Among the factors helping to drive up the stock, UBS on Monday raised its 12-month price target on Netflix from $290 to $345 per share, based on projections that the company is increasing its distance from competitors with investments in content and customer growth.
“Netflix has emerged as a content power house that is actively building a global moat,” wrote the analysts, led by UBS’s Eric Sheridan. “With a strong foothold in North American markets, the company is increasingly looking to international markets for the next leg of subscriber growth.”
UBS analysts also cited its proprietary analysis of Google search trends, which indicate Netflix content is achieving the same or higher level of interest and recognition as traditional media incumbents. For example, according to the analysts, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” season 2 captured higher search interest than every season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” in the U.S.
“Analyzing Google search trends across regions for key Netflix originals, we find that premium U.S. original content travels well — ‘Stranger Things’ and ’13 Reasons Why’ already have vast global appeal across regions,” the UBS team wrote.
Also Monday, Macquarie Capital’s Tom Nollen published a research note, specifically calling out Netflix’s opportunity with 4K Ultra HD, as consumers replace older TVs with UHD models. That suggests Netflix is poised to migrate a growing number of subscribers currently on the standard $10-per-month HD plan, to the $14 monthly “family” plan, which allows up to four concurrent streams and access to Ultra HD content.
“Netflix seems to have every secular trend in its favor,” Nollen wrote.
Meanwhile, Netflix on Sunday night notched its first documentary feature film Academy Award for “Icarus,” about Russia’s Olympic athlete doping scandal. It’s not clear how much the Academy Award win affected the stock price, but the prestige factor couldn’t have hurt enthusiasm for the company’s growing Hollywood clout. Netflix’s only other Oscar win came in 2014 for documentary short “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.”
Netflix blew past Wall Street forecasts for fourth-quarter 2017 subscriber growth, both in the U.S. and internationally. As of the end of 2017, the company tallied 117.6 million streaming members worldwide, a 25% year-over-year increase, including 54.75 million in the U.S.