Why Shares of Lending Club Tanked Today

What: Welcome to the public markets, Lending Club ! Shares of the peer-to-peer lending marketplace fell as much as 18% on Wednesday after the company announced its first set of quarterly results as a public company.

So what: The fourth-quarter performance and the company's outlook for the current quarter were a bit of mixed bag relative to Wall Street's expectations (notably, the full-year outlook was light on anticipated profit):

*EBITDA -- Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization is a measure of cash flow. Sources: Thomson Financial Network, FactSet, YCharts, Lending Club.

Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche told Barron's today that "we've been very clear that we are planning to continue to invest aggressively in future growth in product and technology; we are not looking to expand margins at this time." Perhaps, but the stock market's reaction to the company's outlook suggests management was not clear enough for Wall Street.

Now what: The lending market is ripe for disruption, and Lending Club seems committed to shaking things up. Furthermore, the company appears to be taking a long-term view to building the franchise. Nevertheless, the stock isn't cheap by any standard metrics and represents a bet on highly uncertain outcomes. If you enjoy hunting for the next big thing, Lending Club might be the stock for you; for this value investor, it looks suspiciously like speculation.

The article Why Shares of Lending Club Tanked Today originally appeared on Fool.com.

Alex Dumortier, CFA 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.

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