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Roku Turns Lower as Outlook Overshadows Active Account Beat

Ryan Vlastelica

(Bloomberg) -- Roku Inc. shares fell on Friday, erasing an initial rally that came in the wake of its better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.

Analysts were broadly positive on the quarter, the latest to show strong momentum at the video-streaming platform as consumers cut the cord on traditional cable services and move toward services like Netflix or Disney+

However, the adjusted loss per share beat expectations by a smaller degree than is typical for the company. In addition, some firms expressed concern over the stock’s valuation following a recent surge, and said the Ebitda guidance looked light.

Shares fell 7.8% after earlier spiking as much as 8.7%. The stock remains down more than 20% from a record close, though it has risen more than 30% off a September low, and it remains up more than 300% from the start of 2019.

Here’s what analysts are saying about the results:

Macquarie Research, Tim Nollen

The outlook “is a bit below our admittedly bullish estimates,” given more investment costs and “a more measured international roll-out” than expected.

Expects a full-year loss of $1.33 a share, compared with a prior view of a loss of 38 cents a share.

Outperform, $170 price target.

Loop Capital Markets, Alan Gould

“While the company has executed well, it still faces substantial potential competition.” It is “difficult to justify the $18 billion enterprise value.”

Sell, $80 price target.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Matthew Thornton

Active account additions “were well ahead of consensus,” which is likely due in part to Disney+. However, the Ebitda outlook “is well below consensus,” and competing platforms could pressure Roku’s margins.

“Roku continues to execute and is well-placed in the secular shift to internet TV.”

Hold, $160 price target.

Rosenblatt Securities, Mark Zgutowicz

This was a “generally stellar quarter,” and the outlook underscores Roku’s “widening scale and market leverage.”

Sees signs of “meaningful” international growth ahead.

Buy, price target raised to $190 from $159.

RBC Capital Markets, Mark Mahaney

The company’s platform business “looks like a sustainable 50% grower.” Fundamentals were “solid” in the quarter, with only a “very modest” deceleration in growth from “robust levels.”

Outperform, price target $170 from $160.

Stephens, Kyle Evans

The outlook was “in line or above consensus where it mattered most -- revenue and gross margin in its Platform segment.”

A “heavy” launch cycle for streaming video on demand services in 2020 and 2021 “is likely to drive [average revenue per user] higher for the foreseeable future.”

“Investors wanting exposure to connected T.V. will continue to bid Roku upward.”

Overweight, $155 price target.

Susquehanna Financial Group, Shyam Patil

The report and outlook “continue to highlight Roku’s strong momentum.” Active accounts rose more than expected, and “engagement growth was also strong.”

Positive, price target raised to $170 from $150.

Guggenheim, Michael Morris

“Roku holds an attractive position within an expanding global steaming market and ultimately has the potential for a higher valuation.”

Buy, $150 price target.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says:

Roku is “still well-positioned to benefit from the secular shift away from traditional pay-TV, as the company reinforced its position as the No. 1 TV streaming platform in the U.S.”

- Analyst Amine Bensaid

- Click here for the research

(Updates with afternoon trading, adds Macquarie comments)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Vlastelica in New York at rvlastelica1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Catherine Larkin at clarkin4@bloomberg.net, Scott Schnipper, Steven Fromm

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