It took six months, but Snap, Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) investors finally found a snapshot worth saving, as Snapchat's parent company saw its shares move 6% higher in August. That may not seem like much, but it's the first time Snap stock closed higher since the company went public in early March.
Snap's been in the market's doghouse since peaking at nearly $30 on its second day of trading. It's been largely downhill ever since, and a bounce was inevitable. For Snap, the winning month is the handiwork of a single week during which a pair of bullish analyst moves and a big hit on its Snapchat Discover video platform drove the stock to a nearly 20% pop. The stock moved lower for the balance of August, but a win is still a win.
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Closing out on a down note
Snap ended August on a whimper, as the stock has fallen in each of the past four trading days. Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter initiated coverage of the market laggard with a "hold" rating on Wednesday, concerned that intensifying competition for ad dollars, decelerating growth trends, and Snap's inability to turn a profit will hold the stock back.
Sometimes a neutral rating isn't neutral at all, as Pachter offers up more concerns than glimmers of hope. He's going with a $12 price target on the shares, which isn't a good look with the stock trading 23% higher at the time of the Wednesday afternoon's report.
Pachter isn't the only Wall Street pro with a new uninspiring perspective. Victor Anthony at Aegis also warned earlier this week that we may be at the start of an advertising recession. He thinks the dot-com giants will be fairly insulated from the weakness, but he doesn't believe Snapchat will make it out unscathed. He also has a "hold" rating on Snap stock.
Accentuating the positive
Snap also got off to a rough start in August, sliding after posting disappointing second-quarter results. There were also fears surrounding the lock-up expiration on 782 million shares at the end of July, but for one brilliant week everything seemed to be going right for Snap.
Cantor Fitzgerald's Kip Paulson upgraded the shares to "overweight" three weeks ago, encouraged by the low stock price and healthy projections for continuing growth in average revenue per user. Aegis' Anthony -- the same one concerned about Snap's ability to thrive in the ad recession -- had boosted his price target from $14 to $15. There was also news that week that NBC News' Stay Tuned -- the first major original shot on Snapchat Discover -- attracted more than 29 million unique viewers in its first month.
Keeping the winning streak going into September won't be easy, especially since momentum is already starting to turn against it. However, few gave Snap a chance to bounce back in August, and it wound up doing exactly that.
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