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Wall Street is letting Netflix know how it feels about price cuts

Wall Street is voicing its feelings to Netflix (NFLX) on the streaming giant's new price cuts.

The vibe: It hates them.

Netflix shares have underperformed the S&P 500 by about 7% since the company revealed price reductions on Feb. 23, per Yahoo Finance data. Looked at another way, Netflix's stock has tanked 9.3% since the pricing announcement compared to a 2.5% drop for the S&P 500.

The company slashed prices by 50% in about 100 smaller overseas markets such as Slovenia and Jordan, representing 6% of its subscriber base, according to Citi research. Roughly 60% of the markets were in Europe and the Middle East and Africa region, while 20% each came in Asia-Pacific and in Latin America.

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Citi analyst Jason Bazinet thinks the price cuts reflect the pending "global enforcement of password sharing." By lowering prices, Bazinet says, Netflix may be aligning the retail price of a subscription with the utility each user derives from the service.

Whatever the reason, Bazinet believes Netflix's decision isn't sitting well with investors as it could weigh on profit margins and free cash flow.

"We believe such dramatic price reductions across so many markets confused the Street," Bazinet says. "The Netflix story is going to remain a little complex as investors contend with the new ad tier and concurrent password sharing enforcement."

Judging by the below chart, that confused state on Netflix is already playing out.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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