Citi downgrades Netflix, but wants you to know they still love the stock

Citi has downgraded Netflix.

In a note to clients on Thursday, analysts at Citi cut their rating on shares of Netflix to “Neutral” from “Buy,” noting that the stock is now only 6% below its $US722 price target and seems unlikely to hit its “upside” case of $US950 per share.

But don’t worry, Citi still loves Netflix.

The reason Citi cut its rating on Netflix is because the stock has basically doubled in a year, and like, there’s no need to get greedy.

Here’s Citi:

We are downgrading NFLX to Neutral from Buy for 4 main reasons:

  1. Shares are up 99% YTD, 43% since the 1Q15 report, 49% since our 4/10/15 upgrade, and now trade only 6% below our $US722 target;
  2. While we’ve presented an upside case of more than $US950/share, we believe investors are unlikely to ascribe this full value until there are more signs of traction in recently launched markets, which may not be imminent;
  3. In each of the past three years, NFLX shares have consistently sold off meaningfully following the 2Q and 3Q earnings reports;
  4. The ratio of sell-side Buy ratings has only been this high once before (and that was nine years ago).

To be clear, this is not a call on NFLX’s 2Q results or 3Q guidance (which we believe are not at risk), and we remain positive on the long-term growth outlook for Netflix.

So, this is a downgrade, but not really.

The point here is that Citi is telling clients they don’t need to go out and buy shares of Netflix right now, but they don’t need to worry: Netflix is still awesome.

In other Netflix news, the company announced on Tuesday that it would split its stock 7 ways, which will change the price of the stock, but not the value.

And on Wednesday, hedge fund giant Carl Icahn said he was going to take his almost $US2 billion profit in Netflix and go home.

NOW WATCH: Forget the Apple Watch — here’s the new watch everyone on Wall Street wants

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at