Zillow's Zestimate: Shares Need a Breather (Update 1)

Updated from 9:15 a.m. EST to provide comments from President Obama in the eighth paragraph.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Zillow's ( Z) second-quarter earnings showed that its mobile business continues to be the driving force for the company. As other revenue drivers begin to emerge, the company could see an explosion in sales. Much of that may be priced into the stock, however. At least for now.

Shares sold off in after-hours trading on confusion over stock-based compensation during the quarter, as the company accelerated $7.1 million in charges. But the real story is that Zillow continues to see massive mobile traffic and this doesn't look like it's slowing down anytime soon.

The Seattle-based firm reported a non-GAAP profit of a penny a share on $46.9 million in revenue for the second quarter, as Marketplace Revenue rose 86% year-over-year to $36.5 million. Display Revenue increased 29% during the same time frame to $10.5 million from $8.1 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting Zillow to report a second-quarter loss of 11 cents a share on $44.41 million in revenue.

The company noted that 61 million monthly unique visitors used Zillow via mobile devices and desktops, a year-over-year gain of 66%.

In a phone interview prior to the company's conference call, CEO Spencer Rascoff said, "It was a tremendous quarter. We crushed revenue, we had record traffic, the highest ever net adds. It's being driven by mobile, where we had 120 homes viewed per second, up from 63 homes a year ago. Now, we're just starting to monetize Rentals in the past few weeks. We're firing on all cylinders."

With over 61 million monthly unique visitors to Zillow's Web site and apps, it's clear that those who are in the market for a house are increasingly turning to Zillow. The company's stock price reflects this trend, rising 226.9% since the start of the year, even when you account for this morning's dip.

When I asked on the conference call whether Zillow would take advantage of the recent run up in shares to do an additional equity offering, Rascoff said, "So we have nothing to announce right now in terms of a follow on offering. We're always evaluating our capital needs and thinking about market receptivity to potential offering that we have nothing to announce right now."

During a conversation on housing hosted by Rascoff, President Obama sang the praises of Zillow, making it clear that Zillow is increasingly becoming important for home buyers. "I think you guys have done a great job in helping to make consumers more empowered when they are buying home, selling a home, and it's a wonderful service," he said. Despite Obama's praise, the share price has gotten ahead of itself.

Z Chart Z data by YCharts

While traffic is exceptionally high and the huge jump in Premier Agent net additions helped lead the surge in revenue this quarter and caused the company to raise its full-year revenue outlook, raising its guidance to a range between $186 million and $188 million, the company is choosing to forsake profits now. By putting most of that revenue uptick back into the business, that could temper the recent growth in the share price. On the earnings call, Zillow reiterated its full-year EBITDA guidance of around $20 million.

By reinvesting the added revenue back into the business, the company is setting up for long-term growth, choosing not to focus on the short term. However, Wall Street tends to focus on the short-term, though growth companies like Zillow are valued differently. With the recent explosion in mobile-centric stocks like Zillow, Yelp ( YELP), Facebook ( FB), and others, perhaps it's time these stocks take a bit of a breather, and let the valuations start to catch up to the reality.

Benchmark analyst Daniel Kurnos believes the investment is warranted. "Given 126% y/y growth in mortgage revenue in 2Q, a monetization plan for rentals beginning in 2014 and a significant jump in July uniques to over 61 million from under 56 million in June, we think the marketing investment is beginning to be validated from at least a near-and medium-term perspective," Kurnos wrote, in a note following earnings.

Kurnos raised his price target to $105 following the quarter, keeping his "outpeform" rating.

It's still the early days for Zillow, as the company has recently announced several new businesses, including Zillow Digs, and the Rentals business is just starting to monetize. That said, there is some short-term risk for the stock, said JMP analyst Ronald Josey in a research note, noting the "the stock may be choppy in the near term."

The team led by Rascoff has shown that Zillow's here to stay, but much of the company's medium and long-term success may already be accounted for, at least for now. In a research note following earnings, Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry noted that while Zillow will continue to benefit from the improvement in housing and consumers' growing use of mobile devices and the Internet, "at 12x 2014 revenues we believe, at least near term, much of that success is already reflected in the stock."

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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