Lyft (LYFT) was initiated as buy with a $70 price target at Deutsche Bank, whose analysts said the stock may be bottoming.
The shares of the San Francisco ride-hailing company finished 0.1% higher at $46.40. They had traded up as much as 3.1%. The $70 target indicates 51% upside from Wednesday's close at $46.35.
Lyft's second-quarter results were "robust," but investors have soured on the shares for a number of reasons, an analyst team led by Lloyd Walmsley said in a Sept. 5 report.
Those issues include an early end to the lockup on the shares from the company's March initial public offering; uncertainty regarding California legislation; investors becoming less interested in unprofitable companies trading on revenue multiples; and concern about whether "ride sharing is a good business," the analysts said.
The Deutsche team said the lockup issue has been priced into the shares, and the California-legislation impact has been "overblown" since in the worst case, Lyft would raise prices, they said.
California legislators are proposing to classify ride-hailing drivers as employees rather than as independent contractors not entitled to full benefits, which is how the companies see them.
The duopoly in ride-hailing -- with Uber (UBER) -- makes Lyft "a good business today, and improving efficiency should drive healthy long-term margins," the analysts said.
The concerns have created an attractive entry point on the stock; the addressable market is large -- particularly with the development of autonomous vehicles -- drivers and riders are getting fewer subsidies on pricing, insurance costs are lower, and ride-hailing technology is becoming more efficient with better match rates and shared rides, Walmsley's team said.
What could go wrong? The possibility that California's proposed reclassification rules could go national; the prospect of higher federal minimum wages; and "anti-tech/gig economy presidential politics," they said.