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Buy Netflix because its international subs will nearly double: Piper

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO

Netflix is one of the market’s best performing stocks and one Wall Street firm says its shares will continue to surge due to more impressive growth in foreign markets.

Piper Jaffray told its clients the company’s international subscriber base will nearly double in three years from the current 52 million level.

The firm reiterated its overweight rating on the video streaming company’s shares.

“International growth is clearly the primary focus of NFLX investors; one of the most consistent concerns we hear, regarding ongoing growth potential, is the challenge the service will face gaining adoption in lower income markets,” analyst Michael Olson wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. “Our analysis suggests that Netflix can reach 100M international subs by 2020, with zero or very minimal penetration in lower income international markets.”

Olson raised his price target for Netflix shares to $215 from $198, representing 19 percent upside from Monday’s close.

Netflix is one of the market’s best-performing names. Its shares have rallied 46.5 percent this year through Monday versus the S&P 500’s 10.8 percent return.

The analyst presented a number of scenarios where the streaming video company can reach the 100 million subscriber level by 2020. He noted if Netflix can attain only 25 percent share of upper income segment [above $18,600 per year] in international markets, it can reach the 100 million mark with no share of the lower income demographic. None of his analysis includes any China penetration.

“Based on this, we are increasing our international subscriber estimate for 2020 (ending Q4) to 100M and believe this could still be conservative,” he wrote.

Netflix added a better than expected 5.2 million total subscribers during the second quarter compared with the Wall Street consensus of 3.2 million and now has 104 million total subscribers.

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