Snap's (SNAP) quarterly earnings report may have left Wall Street feeling disappointed last week, but the results didn't scare off all of its investors. A series of recent regulatory filings show that top institutional investors took a stake in the social media upstart in the fiscal first quarter, displaying a vote of confidence in a company that has had more than its share of ups and downs since going public in early March.
Snap shares closed up 8.3% to $20.74 on Monday, marking the stock's third-best trading day since its initial public offering on March 2, as well as a sharp reversal from when it fell almost 23% on Thursday following its first-quarter earnings report. The stock is still down more than 16% so far this year, however.
SEC filings made public on Friday disclosed that big hedge funds purchased shares of Snap, including: Dan Loeb's Third Point LLC, who bought 2.25 million shares of the stock; David Tepper's Appaloosa Management bought 100,000 shares; Daniel Och's Och-Ziff Capital Management held one million shares; Citadel Advisors also bought shares of Snap during the quarter. Additionally, BlackRock (BLK) , T Rowe Price (TROW) , Vanguard and Fidelity Management & Research, were among the leading investment firms who disclosed they own a stake in Snap.
The disclosures come as the parent company of Snapchat continues to face criticism from an onslaught of Wall Street bears who believe Snap's lofty valuation, slowing user growth and failure to turn a profit can't be overlooked. Snap, which lost $2.21 billion during its first quarter as a public company, has also been going head to head with Facebook (FB) . The social networking giant has been rolling out more and more Stories-like features that threaten to pull users off of Snap's disappearing messaging app and toward Instagram and the core Facebook platform.
Snap CEO Evan Spiegel addressed the rivalry during the company's first earnings call, where he reiterated his view that Snap can out-innovate the competition. The company on Monday introduced several new advertising features to Snapchat that are meant to increase user engagement with brands, as well as open up more opportunities for small brands to buy ads on the platform. Sponsored world lenses superimpose augmented reality-based graphics and animations onto Snaps, accompanied by an advertisement. The first partnership is with Warner Bros. and MGM's (MGMB) new teen romance movie Everything, Everything, which places moving scribbles of a sun, clouds and flowers over users' videos, according to Bloomberg. Netflix (NFLX) also plans to create a lens.
Targeted lenses, another new feature, builds on the promotional lenses tool but allows smaller advertisers to purchase campaigns that are cheaper than its national deals, which can range in price from $300,000 to $700,000 per campaign, Bloomberg reports. A third tool lets users add more specific location-based geofilters to promotional lenses.
The new features show that Snap is making good on its promise to deliver creative tools for both users and advertisers, but it remains to be seen whether this will hold off Facebook for long. A new report from app analytics company Sensor Tower showed that app downloads of Snapchat in April dropped to 21.1 million, a 16% decline year-over-year worldwide, both on Apple's (AAPL) App Store and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Play. Facebook's Instagram, meanwhile, saw its app downloads jump to 26.1 million during the period, marking a 19% increase compared to the same month last year, according to the report published on Friday.
The data also showed a continued slow in downloads of Snapchat heading into May.