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Is It Too Late to Buy Netflix Stock?

Video-streaming veteran Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) has seen share prices soar after the second-quarter earnings report on July 18. Netflix’s stock has gained 29% in one week, and many investors wonder if it’s too late to get into this skyrocketing ticker.

Let me assure you that Netflix is a fantastic buy at these slightly higher prices. You missed the deepest discounts but also gained an extra scoop of confidence along the way. After all, Netflix’s stock is rising for good reasons, and it’s easier to believe in the company’s long-haul business prospects than before the earnings report.

Good news in the earnings report

Netflix exceeded its own guidance and analyst expectations nearly across the board in the second quarter. Subscriber counts came in 1 million accounts above guidance, earnings landed 7.7% above the year-ago result, and free cash flows are now trending above previous guidance for the full year.

The company delivered these muscular results despite the triple whammy of recent price increases, unhelpful foreign exchange effects, and an industrywide wall of head-to-head competitors. It’s no surprise to see investors embracing the stock after this rousing financial presentation. The immediate jump was followed by continued market strength as the market slowly digested Netflix’s good-looking business update.

Netflix stock is still cheap

As powerful as this 29% price increase looks in isolation, you should know that the market hasn’t forgiven Netflix for all its sins.

The stock is still trading 69% below November’s all-time highs, including a 35% drop since the first-quarter report in April. Analysts and investors alike have a hard time dealing with the company’s ongoing strategy shift, which places more emphasis on profitable growth with a lesser focus on plain old subscriber counts.

In the long run, this strategy shift should result in investor-friendly numbers such as surging earnings and rich cash flows, which will help market makers forget about potentially slower subscriber growth. Furthermore, Netflix is trying out several new tactics in support of the updated high-level strategy, including a swing at ad-supported plans for price-sensitive consumers and an attempt to collect more top-line revenues from people who currently share their Netflix login credentials for free.

So Netflix remains one of the best investment ideas on the market today, even after the earnings-based price increase. Don’t fret if you decided not to buy Netflix shares in the lower-priced run-up to the report. You can still build a great long-term position in Netflix at the current prices, which would look familiar to a time traveler visiting from January 2018:

NFLX data by YCharts

To put the humble price chart into context, here’s how Netflix’s top and bottom lines evolved over the same period:

NFLX Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

Netflix’s stock is primed for a tremendous rebound, and the market action has only just begun.

Market timing is a gamble at best, and very few investors actually manage to buy at the deepest lows and sell at the grandest highs. Successful investing is a long-term marathon, not a sprint; you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Yes, a 29% price jump is small in the context of Netflix’s massive growth opportunity from here.

Anders Bylund has positions in Netflix. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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