Snap Stock Snapped Up on Analysts' Upgrades

Investors on Thursday were snapping up shares of Snap after two analysts upgraded their ratings of the Snapchat parent.
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Investors on Thursday were snapping up shares of Snap (SNAP) - Get Report after two analysts upgraded their rating of the Snapchat parent.

At last check the shares were 5.8% higher at $17.64.

Cowen analyst John Blackledge upgraded the social-media photo site to outperform from market perform, pointing to a rebound in fundamentals, a positive survey from ad buyers and branding trends.

The analyst boosted his price target on Snap to $20 from $16.

Blackledge said in a note to investors that he saw “momentum around branding campaigns," adding that 10% of ad buyers would use Snap to start new branding campaigns for users aged 13 to 34. 

Six percent of ad buyers, he said, "view Snap as a platform that could emerge or is emerging as a meaningful part of their digital spend.”

Jefferies analyst Brent Thill lifted his rating to buy from hold and raised his price target to $21 from $17. 

Thill said the Santa Monica, Calif., company, which saw substantial gains last year, has "more room to run in 2020" due to "accelerating user growth, particularly internationally."

Thill also cited an improved ad platform, which should spark revenue growth above 30% over three years. He said Snap's “strengthening ecosystem can drive upside to user and revenue growth in 2020.”

In October, Snap reported an adjusted third-quarter loss of 4 cents a share, narrower than Wall Street's estimates of 5 cents. Revenue was $446 million, beating analysts' estimates of $435 million and up 50% year-over-year.

Management guided for revenue of $540 million to $560 million for the fourth quarter. The $550 million midpoint lagged analysts' expectation of $555 million.

Guidance for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was between break-even and $20 million. The midpoint of $10 million is less than estimates of $14 million.

Snap is scheduled to report fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 results on Feb. 4.

Snap went public in March 2017, pricing its IPO at $17. Bloomberg data show that the stock bottomed just below $5 in December 2018. It has more than tripled since then.