Shares of Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) gained 16% in June, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
At first glance, Overstock didn't have much news to share in June. Dig a little deeper and you'll find the stock arguably rising due to two important trends. First, analysts lavished praise on Overstock rival Wayfair (NYSE: W) last month, and what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Second, Overstock is an early adopter of bitcoin and other blockchain technologies, and the crypto-currency industry has been on a tear lately. Together, these seemingly unrelated market trends explain why Overstock shares were on the move in June.
The Medici operation that accounts for Overstock's blockchain operations has exploded from $1.9 million in 2015 revenue to $15.2 million in 2016. The annual run rate for this segment stood at $17.4 million in the recently reported first quarter, but with a 58% year-over-year growth tailwind at its back. Expect this technology to become a larger and more important part of the Overstock story over time, kind of like how archrival Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services now generates 89% of the e-tailer's operating income. It isn't wrong to raise Overstock's valuation when crypto currencies are doing well.
As for the Wayfair connection, Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne spent a lot of time talking about exactly that on the latest earnings call and clearly sees the company as an important peer. That's not necessarily a bad thing, considering Wayfair's strong sales growth and skyrocketing share prices, but that company is throwing some shade over Overstock's e-commerce business these days.
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