What Happened in the Stock Market Today

By Markets Fool.com

Stocks started the new trading week off on a down note. The Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJINDICES: ^DJI) andS&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC)both logged small declines of roughly 0.1%.

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Today's stock market:

Index

Percentage Change

Point Change

Dow

(0.15%)

(28)

S&P 500

(0.13%)

(3)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Energy stocks had a rough day, as oil prices fell far enough to slip into bear-market territory -- down 20% since June. Meanwhile, individual companies making headlines included Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) and MeetMe (NASDAQ: MEET), which both enjoyed unusually large price jumps on Monday.

Etsy's vote of confidence

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Online crafts marketplace Etsy saw its stock jump 18% after receiving a head-turning upgrade from Citigroup. Analyst Mark Kelly slapped a "buy" rating on the stock and said it could soon be worth $14 per share, representing a further 18% rise from Monday's closing price. That bounce would be welcome news for long-term shareholders, since Etsy is down 40% over the past 12 months.

Image source: Etsy.

Kelly argued that growth will likely be materially higher than consensus estimates this year and also well above management's forecast. Rather than expanding sales at around 25%, revenue should spike by closer to 33%, he said. The key driver for this projected outperformance will be Etsy's seller services, which are high-margin products that the company offers to help sellers build out their online business. That segment was the fastest-growing portion of its business by far last quarter, spiking 60% compared with just an 18% rise in transaction volume.

Seller services represent a key growth avenue for Etsy, and one that executives are just starting to tap into with things such as shipping labels, direct checkout, and promoted listings. Continued success on that score could push growth into a higher level. However, Etsy's bigger challenge is protecting market share from this likes of Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). That's why investors should watch be looking for healthy sales volumes gains from the company (Amazon's product sales rose 23% in Q2), in addition to a deeper uptake of its seller services.

MeetMe's mobile wins

Social-discovery specialist MeetMe soared following surprisingly strong second-quarter earnings results. Sales rose at a 48% pace to $16.4 million and net income doubled to $5 million, or $0.09 per share. Consensus estimates, on the other hand, were targeting $15 million of revenue and $0.05 per share in profits.

There were several encouraging data points for investors in this report. MeetMe's base of users, for example, rose 16% to nearly 6 million monthly visitors. The company was able to more effectively monetize that extra traffic as well, particularly when it came to those surfing on mobile devices. MeetMe's average mobile revenue rose to $3.11 per user nearly 40% higher year over year. Executives credited a new chat platform called Discuss for the increased engagement.

Image source: Getty Images.

MeetMe is hoping to keep its momentum going by merging with chat network Scout, which it acquired for $54 million this year. Executives believe the combined company can get to $100 million of annual revenue by 2018 with adjusted margins of over 40%. Plenty can change for the business in that time, including significant shifts in the meetup social-discovery niche. However, this quarter's revenue spike and soaring profit margin suggest MeetMe is heading into the merger boasting solid finances and improving operating trends.

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Demitrios Kalogeropoulos has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon.com. The Motley Fool owns shares of Etsy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.