Shares of Veritone Inc. (NASDAQ: VERI) were up 28.7% as of 12:45 p.m. EDT Friday after Roth Capital Partners analyst Brian Alger defended the artificial intelligence specialist in the wake of a skeptical comment made earlier this week by short-seller Citron Research.
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Veritone shares plunged more than 30% on Wednesday, then plunged another 20% on Thursday after Citron sarcastically tweeted that Veritone "is not artificial intelligence, more like natural stupidity." Citron then suggested Veritone stock "should trade right back to $20."
Today, however, Roth Capital Partners analyst Brian Alger retorted:
Alger also pointed out that while Veritone created its platform for media advertising customers -- and already counts among its clients the likes of CBS and NBC -- it's likely to expand its scope through mergers and acquisitions. Given the increased clarity into Veritone's potential, Alger boosted his price target on Veritone shares from $13 all the way up to $62.
That's a massive vote of confidence considering Veritone held its IPO in May at just $15 per share, and currently trades just shy of $47 per share. Though for perspective, thanks largely to a bullish Barron's article (subscription may be required) published a little over a month ago, the stock had also skyrocketed to nearly $75 per share just prior to Citron's tweet earlier this week. And I'll admit that move made me squeamish, considering the absence of tangible company-specific news supporting it.
For now, I'm still content watching Veritone from the sidelines while this post-IPO volatility subsides. But today's pop makes it clear that Alger's note caught the eye of investors.
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