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Netflix shares slide as Goldman downgrades on grim economic picture

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FILE PHOTO: A Netflix logo is shown on a TV screen ahead of a Swiss vote, in this illustration
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By Tiyashi Datta

(Reuters) -Netflix Inc shares fell 5% on Friday after Goldman Sachs downgraded the streaming pioneer over risks of slower consumer spending and tough competition from Amazon and Walt Disney Co.

In April, Netflix lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade, signaling trouble ahead for the industry as rising prices of food and gas left people with little to spend on entertainment.

Suspending its services in Russia after the Ukraine invasion also took a toll on Netflix.

Goldman downgraded the stock to "sell" from "neutral" and slashed its price target to $186 from $265, the lowest PT among analysts covering the stock, according to data from Refinitiv.

The brokerage also lowered its ratings on e-commerce platform eBay Inc and online gaming firm Roblox Corp to "sell" from "neutral". Roblox and eBay shares fell nearly 4% in afternoon trading.

Netflix is now a "show-me story", Goldman said, as it cut revenue estimates for 2022-2023.

That sent Netflix shares down 4.6% at $184.06 in midday trading on Friday, adding on to this year's 68% slump.

"The cost of living crisis will have a major impact on all streaming services. Let's not forget the market is now awash with too many streaming media services chasing too few services," said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight.

"Expect some to pivot more towards a yearly discounted bundle to entice users and increase loyalty."

Netflix is already considering a cheaper subscription that includes advertising, following the success of similar offerings from rivals HBO Max and Disney+.

The median price target of the 48 analysts covering the Netflix stock is at $297.50, down from $502.50 in March.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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