Can Groupon Stay Above $5 This Time?

By Rick

Image source: Groupon.

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Shares of Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN)were on fire last week, soaring nearly 30% higher following a better-than-expected quarterly report. Things are off to another encouraging start this week, with shares of the daily-deals leader rising another 4% on Monday.

Groupon's gross billings clocked in at $1.49 billion for the second quarter. That's a 2% year-over-year decline, but it also reveals a tale of two markets. North American gross billings kept growing, rising 8% as its stateside user base continues to grow. That was offset by sharp declines overseas as the company pares back its presence in countries with deficit-riddled operations.

Groupon's $756 million in revenue may not seem all that scintillating, but it was well ahead of Wall Street's top-line targets. Perhaps even more importantly, Groupon is pushing its guidance higher. It now sees revenue of $3 billion to $3.1 billion for the entire year, up from its earlier forecast of just $2.75 billion to $3.05 billion.

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Yes, the daily-deals leader continues to lose money. It served up an adjusted loss of $0.01 a share. However, analysts were holding out for a deficit of $0.02. So it's a beat for Groupon on both ends of the income statement, and pushing its guidance higher is the cherry on top.

It's just getting started

The strong report found Grouponstock trading north of $5 for only the second time over the past year, and it may not end there.Piper Jaffray analyst Samuel Kemp -- who had shrewdly upgraded the stock last month just days before the blowout report, pushing his price target from $4 to $6 -- moved it slightly higher following the financial update. He continues to be encouraged by its customer-acquiring prowess, something that will pay off in the future. His goal is now set at $6.50 for the stock.

Kemp isn't the only one who got bullish at the right time.Maxim Group analyst Tom Forte initiated coverage of the stock with a "buy" rating in June.

Effectively wooing Wall Street isn't the only thing Groupon is doing right these days. Its cash balance now tops $780 million, and it continues to use some of its money to buy back shares.

It will take a long time for Groupon to return to its late 2011 IPO price of $20. It will take more than just a gradual uptick in domestic gross billings and revenue to justify seeing the stock quadruple from here. However, momentum, analysts, and customer growth are now on its side. That's one way to make sure it stays on the right side of $5 as it takes the appropriate tactical steps to market itself to a once jaded stateside audience.

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Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.