Archive - Oct 21, 2010

Will Today's Embarrassing Outage Force Netflix To Do A Follow-On Stock Offering?

The biggest story today for video rental/video streaming company Netflix was not its parabolic move higher on earnings that left many scratching their heads, but that the company's exposure of just how vulnerable, and potentially unprepared, to growing pains it is, after its website suffered a multi-hour outage preventing clients (both paying and free) from accessing any streaming movies. And the company, which is betting if not the ranch, the definitely its cash flow on the transition to streaming (in Q3 it spent $115 million on video streaming rights, an 11-fold increase from the same time last year) may very well be unprepared for the priced in exponential growth in new users (even more so since as we pointed out earlier, the bulk of the expansion is to non-paying customers). The reason, as AP pointed out earlier, is that Netflix's streaming service has become so popular that it is now the
largest source of U.S. Internet traffic during peak evening hours
. Streaming
by Netflix subscribers accounted for about one-fifth of that peak-time
, more than double the volume flowing from Google Inc.'s YouTube. And this massive infrastructure is supported by... $120 million in PP&E!? Indicatively Google is almost $5 billion. And since the market is expecting continued parabolic growth to its existing customer base of 15.9 million paid users to validate the new business model to which it attributes a lofty 30x+ PE of 2012 Earnings (a deja vu of the dot com days of "story stocks"), the company will soon have no choice but to actually expand its seemingly underfunded infrastructure, which it currently carries at $125 million on its books. Unless, of course, it wants to lose exasperated clients with an ultra short attention span who demand instant gratification and who can easily find substitute streaming providers in these days of Hulu (which itself is about to IPO), and numerous cable channel hosted alternatives. The big problem is that with $8 million of non GAAP free cash flow as disclosed in its Q3 earning release, there is no way this expansion can be funded organically.  Furthermore, as the company is currently below its self-disclosed cash floor level, is the only option for Netflix to come out with a follow on offering, and fast? What that would do to a stock that has under $200 million in book equity and almost $9 billion in market cap we leave to our readers' imagination.

MoneyMcbags's picture

A funny thing happened on the way to the frontrun today as after a huge opening driven by slightly positive relative macro data and NFLX's jizztacular earnings, the market dove on no real discernible news other than maybe investors waking up to just about EVERY FUCKING PIECE OF ECONOMIC DATA released in the last few years (though highly unlikely).

madhedgefundtrader's picture

We are entering a major secular bull market in food, as the world is making people faster than the food to feed them. A 175,000 new customers a day. When push comes to shove in the global economy, the commodities you have to have are the grains. The Scottish reverend Thomas Malthus must be smiling from his grave. (CORN), (AGU), (MOS).

Open Letter To The SEC's Worthless Enforcement Division

To Whom It May Concern,

I have a question. Why does the SEC allow high frequency traders/co-location traders/etc., to front run retail orders every day in almost every security? When I say front run, I mean the practice of utilizing sub-penny orders whereby these so called traders step in front of real bids and offers by 1/100th of a penny to get the trade done, knowing there's a bid or offer right behind them. This has happened to me at least fifty times in the last year. It is particularly a problem on illiquid issues in which the sub-penny order that front runs my orders may be the only business done at that level. And so my order just sits there and never gets filled.

Guest Post: China's Naval Ambitions Spur New Regional Strategic Planning

SITUATION: Defense planning efforts in East Asia have been markedly influenced by China's bellicose response to the detention of a Chinese fisherman for ramming a Japanese naval boat in disputed waters.
ANALYSIS: The detention generated vituperative reactions from Beijing, out of character from its traditional policy of quiet insistence on territorial claims while building naval capacity. This episode, in conjunction with China's continuing claim of primacy in the South China Sea as a 'core interest', is encouraging increased discussion among its regional neighbors regarding naval collaboration.

Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Update: Week Of October 20; Foreign MBS Holdings Drop To 3 Year Low

As of October 20, the Fed's balance sheet was $2.3 trillion, of which the $832 billion in Treasury debt was a new all time record. As per the revised TIC data, Japan's latest holdings of $837 billion are about to be trampled by Brian Sack once again. More importantly, in the past week, bank excess reserves declined by $34 billion: total reserves stood at $993 billion, down from $1.026 trillion the week before. This was in addition to the Fed's $11 billion in POMO excess liquidity. Probably most importantly, foreign holdings of agency/MBS debt dropped to a 3 year low, dumping $100 billion agencies in the Fed's custodial account over the past two months.

Goldman Advises Clients To Front Run The Fed Via POMO

After a few months of breaking down what the simplest trade in the world is, that would be frontrunning the Fed for the cheap seats, Zero Hedge is happy to advise our readers that finally Goldman Sachs itself has capitulated and is now indirectly telling its clients to frontrun Ben Bernanke via POMO. No complicated value investor nonsense, no pair trades, no cap structure arbitrage, no hedging, no levered beta plays. Buy ahead of POMO. Sell. Rinse. Repeat.

Reading Between The Lines Of Netflix' Ugly Earnings Report - An AOL Type Accounting Gimmick In The Making?

Yesterday Netflix reported a quarter which missed EPS, and provided a guidance that was essentially below the street. Yet for some reason the stock shot up 10% on what was perceived to be a dramatic pick up in subscribers and a very low Subscriber Acquisition Cost. We wonder if all those computers who bid up the stock with impunity, lifting all offers on the way up, were aware that in fact the subscriber metrics were a major disappointment. To wit from Bank of America: "without a dramatic lift in free subs as percent of total (from 2.8% in 2Q and 2.5% in 3Q09 to 6.3% in 4Q), Netflix would not have met Street expectations, and paying subscribers of 15.9mn (still up an impressive 46% y/y) missed our estimate by 275K." Yes, ladies and gents, it is the AOL scam all over again. Free subs are subs, the CEO will tell you, and it is all a matter of converting them. Ah yes. That worked out very well for the clusterfuck that is the dial up company. In other words, NFLX results were in reality a disaster across every vertical, and once Q4 is in the books and the inability to fool the vacuum tubes that free subs will become paying subs is realized, this overbloated bubble is in for a dramatic reacquaintance with gravity.

Guest Post: Twilight Of The Models

There is nothing destabilizing about a credit default swap. You are either in the money or out of the money: one side loses and the other wins. This means these derivatives transfer risk, not create it. What creates systemic risk is bad pricing, selective margining, and lack of netting, not the instruments themselves. A clearinghouse facilitates transparent pricing, netting, and straightforward settlement with less collateral squeezes. So what’s the problem? Many people think that Satan himself unleashed credit default swaps on the world.

Daily FX Summary: October 21

Despite better than expected Eurozone related data on Thursday, the pair failed to post any gains as the USD index staged another rebound. As such, even though the bullish trend still remains intact, the pair continues to have difficulty in posting firm gains above 1.4000 level which indicates that there is a risk of a near-term correction. However given the persistent speculation over the potential asset purchase program which to be initiated by the Fed in November implies that any correction is likely to be short-lived since the USD index is almost certain to make another move to the downside. In terms of technical levels, support is seen at the 10DMA at 1.3932, 21DMA at 1.3791 and then at 1.3511 which is also a 50.0% Fibonacci retracement level. Worth noting that Friday sees the release of the ever so crucial German IFO survey which is expected to be the main driver behind the price action during London hours. There is also an intraday option expiry at 1.4075 which is due to expire at 10am ET NY cut.

After Hours Earnings Summary: Amazon, American Express And Sandisk

All three companies beat, yet Amazon not liking the news (down 4% AH), and now AXP going red. Of course, this being one of the most roboticized stocks, looks for the HFT crew to throw in some extra volumechurn in exchange for capital losses offset by liquidity rebates to bring the price back.