Should You Buy Pandora Ahead of Earnings?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The day before Pandora's ( P) last earnings report, a Stifel Nicolaus analyst came out with an obscenely bullish report, setting his price target for the stock at $18.

Here's how I responded at the time over at Seeking Alpha:
"Heading into the report, I am not nearly as bullish, but you must consider my perspective. I own Pandora for the long term. What happens tomorrow matters, of course, but it's very unlikely that anything I hear tomorrow will shake me out of the stock."

I feel the same way heading into Wednesday afternoon's earnings release.

I have been buying Pandora stock since last year. I own a consistently growing number of shares at a cost basis of $10.15. Because I am confident that Pandora will not drop any negative bombshells after Wednesday's close, I intend to stay the course.

That said, only you can answer the question of whether you should buy Pandora ahead of the report. I bought more shares on Tuesday, but that's my regular modus operandi. (I buy shares on two to four Tuesdays a month.) I am a long-term investor who feels like he understands what Pandora is trying to do over the long haul. Short-term noise concerns me very little, if at all. I bought at $15-16. I bought at $8-9. And I bought at many points in between.

So you cannot make this decision on the basis of what I do. First of all, you need to conduct your own due diligence and come to the same or similar conclusions as I have -- on your own -- but aided by the things you read on the bull and bear side. Second, you have to make sure your portfolio has room to stomach a volatile stock of Pandora's nature; it could give back every cent it gained over the last month in after-hours trading tonight on a poorly received report.

With companies like Pandora (and Facebook ( FB)), I tend to look primarily to the future. Near-term noise and headwinds mean very little, if anything, in the grand scheme of things.

Here, ahead of the report, I consider some of the key concerns that could interfere with Pandora's forward-looking narrative.

Competition

Many Sirius XM ( SIRI) permabulls like to argue that the company has no real competition. Some go so far as to say Sirius XM enjoys a monopoly because it is the only satellite broadcaster of record. That's an absurd argument.

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