Uber Technologies (UBER) shares edged higher Tuesday as investors reacted to a series of analysts' recommendations for the ride-sharing group following its $82 billion listing on the New York Stock Exchange last month.
Companies that list on U.S. exchanges are typically subject to a "quiet period" following the opening day of trading that forbids the banks and investment firms that underwrote the offering from providing forecasts or recommendations. That period expires today, and at least fourteen notes on Uber's near-term prospects and price targets expected from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are expected.
Uber shed more than $12 billion in market value on its first day of trading on May 10, amid a volatile session for U.S. stocks and persistent questions surrounding its profitability and business practices. The opening trade of 32 million shares at $42 each was a disappointment for the bookrunners, who had priced the shares at $45 each prior to the listing and watched them retreat to $41.57 each.
"The stock essentially flat following an 18% decline from its IPO price of $45 as public investors have for now eschewed the long period of loss making implied in Uber's business model, and it's quite possible that the stock may experience an extended "seasoning" period as it works through pent-up supply from early investors seeking partial liquidity," said Canaccord Genuity analyst Michale Graham, who initiated coverage on Uber with a $55 price target and a 'buy' rating .
"In addition, the scope of Uber's investment and expansion framework virtually ensures delayed profitability for several years, narrowing the pool of potential buyers," he added. "All that said, we are bullish on the stock as we see the vast global transportation market as poised for disruption, and Uber as the dominant player in the revolution."
Uber shares pared earlier gains in pre-market trading, however, after it said its tax affairs are being examined by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
In its 10-Q filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ending on March 31, Uber said the IRS will look into its federal tax filings for the years 2013 and 2014, and added that state and international revenue authorities were also examining its previous filings.
Uber shares were marked 0.17% lower in the opening hour of trading following the SEC filing, after earlier rising nearly 2.6%, change hands at $41.15 each, a move that would leave the stock 85 cents south of it opening trade when the stock listed on the NYSE on May 10.
Beyond Canaccord's 'buy' rating from this morning, analysts at Deutsche bank matched that assessment with a $58 price target, while Citigroup initiated coverage with a neutral rating and a $45 price target. Cowen & Co., meanwhile, started its coverage with a $58 price target and an outperform rating.
Last week, Uber posted a slightly narrower-than-expected loss of $2.26 per share in its first earnings report as a public company, as revenues rose 20% from the same period last year $3.1 billion and the closely-watched gross bookings numbers rose 34% to $14.65 billion.
"We have a generational and demographic wave behind us and our job is to grow fast, at scale and more efficiently for a long, long time," CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told investors on a conference call. "And while the markets that we compete in are and will remain competitive, we like what we see."
"Our IPO was an important step in our evolution but just a step. Our teams are focused, motivated, talented and very, very determined to prove Uber's value to our shareholders, he added.