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Merrill Starts Netflix with 'Strong Buy'

Merrill Lynch initiated coverage of Netflix (NFLX) with near and long term strong buy.

Analyst Justin Baldauf says the company is the world's dominant online DVD rental service. He thinks the company is an excellent pure play on a powerful secular growth trend: the adoption of a DVD player is the fastest selling consumer electronics product in history. He thinks the projected increase of DVD installed base to 69 million by 2006 from 25 million at year-end 2001 may prove conservative. Baldauf sees strong second quarter, based on robust DVD player sales, recent service enhancements, and renewed investment in subscriber acquisition. He sees a $0.55 2002 loss, and a $0.06 2003 loss. Baldauf set a $20 target.

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