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PayPal Praised by Analysts After Stronger-Than-Expected Earnings

Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan raised their share-price targets for financial-services juggernaut PayPal.
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PayPal  (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc. Report shares wavered on Thursday after analysts reacted positively to the financial-services titan's stronger-than-expected earnings for the first quarter.

The San Jose, Calif., company reported what it said was the strongest first quarter in its 23-year history, with net income leaping on 31% higher revenue and net new active accounts rising by 14.5 million.

The stock has wavered in Thursday trading. It recently traded at $246.29, off 0.4%. It has also traded up as much as 3.6% at $256.31. It has slid 7% in the past three months as investors were concerned about its valuation.

As for the analysts, Morgan Stanley’s James Faucette rates PayPal overweight and raised his share-price target to $337 from $329.

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“PayPal's stronger-than-expected top-line performance highlights the value proposition that its solutions have for consumers and merchants,” he wrote in a commentary. 

“The March quarter results and commentary for June should alleviate concerns related to tougher comparisons, as the company is clearly benefitting from persisting secular tailwinds and strong consumer spend.”

J.P. Morgan analyst Tien-tsin Huang also rates the stock overweight and lifted his price target to $313 from $310.

He cites several strengths. “Underlying volume and net new active accounts remain robust nearly a year into the pandemic, suggesting the shift to digital is not abating,” Huang wrote.

“Volume-based expenses grew just 9% … on favorable funding mix, reserve release and cost controls. … New initiatives like buy now pay later, the Venmo credit card, crypto trading and in-store QR codes are all off to a fast start.”

Last month, PayPal’s Venmo unit opened its service to buying, selling and holding cryptocurrency directly within the Venmo app with as little as $1.