Friday, December 21, 2007

Citigroup's NFLX switcheroo

Remember when Citigroup was "concerned" over Netflix (NFLX 27.24) on December 7 when the stock was 23.57 and they put a sell recommendation on the stock? Here's what I wrote:

"The Postal Service did an audit, and found that sometimes the adhesive flap causes the mail systems to jam, and thus the NetFlix mailer has to be sorted by hand. The Citigroup analyst said that 70% of all Netflix's envelopes did this. (He probably did "channel" checks at the post office.) The Postal service estimates this costs them over $21 million a year; and they would like .17 cent surcharge when the machines jam. (Netflix says they save the Post Office $100 million a year by picking up the returns instead of having them delivered by mail to them.) So the report said if Netflix "has to bear the full brunt of this increase (without other cost offsets), monthly operating income per paying subscriber would fall 67 percent from $1.05 to 35 cents."

Today, when the stock was at 27, Citigroup upgraded NFLX from a sell, to a hold. I thought their "sell" recommendation at 23 was rather curious, so I did the piece on it.

Anyone betting that the NY Times will have the upgrade in their paper? Nah. Wall Street doesn't work that way!

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