After the market close yesterday, October 16, Netflix (NFLX) announced third quarter earnings of 89 cents a share, a huge 21 cents a share above Wall Street projections. Revenues climbed 34% year over year to $4 billion against analyst estimates of $3.99 billion. The company added 6.96 million new subscribers, well above the 5 million that the company had earlier projected. 1.09 million of those new subscribers were in the United States (against guidance for 650,000) and another 5.87 million were oversea (against guidance for 4.35 million.)
But the company delivered at least somewhat disappointing guidance for the fourth quarter. For the period Netflix told Wall Street to expect earnings per share of 23 cents versus the 49 cents a share that Wall Street had projected. Revenue for the quarter would be $4.2 billion against the Wall Street projection of $4.23 billion.
So which did the market go with–the huge earnings beat for the third quarter or the downbeat guidance for the fourth quarter?
For one night at least, the bird in the hand got all the attention.
Netflix shares were up 3.98% during the regular trading session in anticipation of the report after the close. And then the shares rose 10.88% in after-hours trading.
It will be interesting to see if Netflix shares manage to advance on Wednesday, October 17, after those gains.
And it is even more important for the market as a whole to see if Netflix shares continue to reflect the current quarter good earnings news against the somewhat disappointing fourth quarter guidance.
This a question that’s likely to come up over and over again this quarter as traders and investors try to decide how much they fear the “Peak Earnings” story that sees the third quarter as the top of the current cycle for earnings.
At the $346.40 close of regular trading and the $384.10 of after-hours trading Netflix still remains below the $418.97 high set on July 9. The 50 day moving average stood at $353.97 at the close on October 16.