A lot can happen in a year. Take Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
Since 1997, Netflix has been a leading provider of on-demand internet streaming and DVD-by-mail services. With just over 2,300 full-time employees, the company brought in $3.2 billion in sales last year. But in September 2011, the company drew harsh criticism for its failed attempt to split into two services and, in a separate occasion, raising prices for as much as 60% of its services. \
So in the span of months, shares plunged over 60% and remained depressed through the end of 2012. So this time last year, this Aggressively-ranked stock was at the bottom of the barrel, earning a F-rating in my Portfolio Grader tool.
However, 2013 marked a turning point for Netflix; the company has been working overtime to turn things around. To woo its subscribers, Netflix is launching a new crop of original programming, including the recent release of House of Cards and the re-launch of Arrested Development. And its efforts have paid off—the stock has soared nearly 135% this year to date. But I expect further upside from here, and here’s why:
Just a few weeks ago, management announced strong growth across the board for the first quarter. To start, the company added about three million subscribers, bringing the total count to 36 million around the globe. The company also announced that subscribers watched nearly a billion hours of programming each month. So in the first quarter, the company swung to a $3 million profit; this is a turnaround from the $4.6 million net loss Netflix reported in Q1 2012.
Adjusted earnings weighed in at 31 cents per share, which trounced the 18 cents consensus estimate by 72%. Meanwhile, revenues climbed 18% to $1.024 billion; this also topped the $1.02 billion consensus estimate. The surprisingly strong results sent shares of NFLX soaring over 20% and sparked a wave of analyst upgrades.
With analysts calling for over 20% sales growth and 369% earnings growth this year, NFLX is a B-rated buy. Currently, NFLX receives top marks for institutional buying pressure, earnings momentum, analyst earnings revisions and cash flow.
And NFLX certainly isn’t the only big “rags to riches” story of the past year. Every day brings something new on Wall Street, and pays to stay on top it all. That being said, after digging through the 5,000 or so stocks in my Portfolio Grader database, I’ve uncovered 14 other big blue chips that have made incredible comebacks over the past 12 months.
|Symbol||Company Name||Last Year’s Recommendation||Current Recommendation||12-Month Performance|
|LUV||Southwest Airlines||Sell||Strong Buy||74%|
|NVS||Novartis AG ADS||Sell||Strong Buy||40%|
|S||Sprint Nextel||Strong Sell||Buy||206%|
|VMED||Virgin Media||Strong Sell||Strong Buy||126%|