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Can Netflix Keep Going After Last Week's 17% Pop?

Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is having another odd year -- and that's a good thing. Shares of the dot-com darling that was the S&P 500's biggest gainer in 2013 and again in 2015 is rolling in 2017. The stock soared 17% last week, shooting to fresh all-time highs after posting strong second-quarter results.

Netflix stock is trading 52.3% higher so far in 2017, one of only eight stocks in the S&P 500 that have soared by more than 50% this year. It seems as if every odd year is the charm for Netflix shareholders. 

Image source: Netflix.

There's always something good on TV now

Wall Street's generally gushing about last week's blowout performance. More than a dozen analysts boosted their price targets last week and in one case upgraded the stock. 

  • Loop Capital raised its price goal from $180 to $205, buoyed by Netflix's better-than-expected gains in domestic and international subscribers.
  • Bernstein's going from $178 to $203, pointing out that Netflix will have added more paying subs in the first nine months of this year than Hulu has in its entire seven-year existence. 
  • Credit Suisse lifted its target from $154 to $190.
  • Stifel's price target went from $170 to $200, encouraged by the two major milestones Netflix hit during the quarter: topping 100 million subscribers and having more than half of its streaming subscribers as international accounts.
  • Pivotal Research pushed its goal from $175 to $200.
  • RBC Capital is boosting its high-water mark from $175 to $210. 
  • KeyBanc is going from $170 to $190, believing that Netflix will continue to at least meet expectations for revenue and subscriber growth. This may seem like a cutthroat niche, but KeyBanc thinks the barriers to entry will keep rising as Netflix's catalog gets deeper. 
  • Canaccord's new price target is $200, up from $175.
  • J.P. Morgan's goal is rising from $178 to $210, calling the second quarter Netflix's strongest content period ever. 
  • Jefferies increased its price target from $141 to $165.
  • Citi went from $160 to $180.
  • Piper Jaffray's price goal of $190 before the report was among the highest, but it's now going up to $198. Piper believes that contribution margin should continue to grow and that Wall Street's consensus estimates are too low. 

The one upgrade came from Alan Gould at Rosenblatt, lifting his rating from "neutral" to "buy" after conceding that Netflix's moat makes it unstoppable at this point. He is dramatically jacking up his price target, going from $155 to $200. 

A strong second quarter isn't going to be enough to make Netflix the biggest gainer on the S&P 500 for the third time in the past five years, but it can't hurt. Momentum is in Netflix's corner, and that's something that's made the stock a tough investment to bet against when it's on a roll.

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Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.