Snap Inc. (SNAP - Get Report) shares opened at the highest level in nearly eight months Monday as investors pile back into the instant messaging app service group's stock following a rebound in tech sector sentiment amid a surge in new listings.
Snap, which reports first quarter earnings on April 23, has impressed investors of late with plans to broaden the advertizing reach of its messaging platform to the 186 million people who use it each day, rolling out new games, photographic options and original content programming. Last week, Snap's first-ever 'Partner Summit' in Los Angeles unveiled some of those changes, which it hopes will lengthen engagement times and lever value from the near 90% market share of 13 to 24 year olds it commands in the United States.
"We believe 2019 remains a pivotal year for the company as it launches its rebuilt Android app globally, as its self-serve ad platform gains scale, and as the organization stabilizes after multiple executive departures in 2018," said JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey. "Overall, while we are encouraged with the company's new products and services, and our checks suggest engagement is improving, which bodes well for advertising growth, we think execution risk remains."
Snap shares were marked 6.7% higher Monday at $12.62 each, the highest since August 14 and a move that would more than double the stock's year-to-date gain.
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Snap was upgraded to 'outperform' Monday by RBC Capital Markets, as well, with analyst Mark Mahaney boosting his price target by $7 to $17 a share, citing evidence its android platform improvements are "finally gaining traction".
Snap is also seeing a rebound in sentiment following last month's IPO of ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. LYFT, the biggest in five years, which raised more than $2.3 billion and triggered a wave of more than $50 billion in new listings as so-called 'Unicorn' start-ups tap bullish investor sentiment.
Lyft, as well as planned IPOs from so-called decacorns -- companies like social media group, Pinterest, ride-sharing giant Uber and room-sharing group AirBnb that have a $10 billion value as well as smaller groups Slack Technologies and Postmates -- come at a pivotal junction for equity markets, which look set to booked their best quarterly gains since 2009.
Snap, of course, has seen it owns fortunes wane since listing with much fanfare on March 2, 2017, with a first-trade price of $25 a share. Since then, the stock has tumbled amid uneven attempts by co-founder Evan Spiegel to simultaneously boost the signature messaging app's appeal to older users while maintaining its zeitgeist among celebrity endorsers.