PayPal Shares Trade Flat Despite Launching Crypto Payments

PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) edged 0.37% higher Wednesday after the digital payments company launched its highly anticipated cryptocurrency checkout service.

U.S. customers who hold leading digital currencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin in their PayPal wallet will now be able to convert holdings into fiat currencies at participating merchants to make purchases. “This is the first time you can seamlessly use cryptocurrencies in the same way as a credit card or a debit card inside your PayPal wallet,” CEO Dan Schulman told Reuters.

The company, which plans a full rollout across its 29 million merchants within the coming months, first announced its foray into digital currencies late last year, initially only allowing users to buy, hold, and sell leading cryptocurrencies. The latest development comes within the same week that Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said U.S. customers can now purchase Tesla cars with Bitcoin and rival Visa Inc. (V) announcing that it facilitates settling transactions in USD Coin (USDC) – a stable coin backed by the U.S. dollar.

Through Wednesday’s close, PayPal stock has a market value of $277 billion and trades mostly flat since the start of the year. However, the shares have gained around 145% over the past 12 months. Valuation-wise, the stock looks a little pricey, trading 53% above its five-year average forward earnings multiple of 34 times.

Wall Street View

In January, BTIG analyst Mark Palmer upgraded PayPal to ‘Buy’ from ‘Neutral’ and placed a $300 price target on the shares. Palmer told clients that PayPal’s crypto initiative could add more than $1 billion to PayPal’s annual revenues in 2022. The analyst also argues that a shift to digital payments during the pandemic should continue in 2021 and propel the payment processer’s long-term growth trajectory.

Sentiment elsewhere on Wall Street remains bullish. The stock receives 35 ‘Buy’ ratings, 5 ‘Overweight’ ratings, and 7 ‘Hold’ ratings. Just one sell-side analyst recommends selling the shares. Twelve-month price targets range between $241 and $375, with the median pegged at $310.

Technical Outlook and Trading Tactics

Despite most analysts expecting further upside, the PayPal chart indicates short-term weakness that could see the shares fall. Over the first three months of the year, the stock has formed a head and shoulders pattern – a formation that often signals a top.

Active traders would be better to look for buying opportunities near $212.5, where the price finds a confluence of support from a multi-month horizontal trendline and the rising 200-day simple moving average (SMA). Those who buy at this level should target a move back up to the pattern’s head at $309.14. Protect capital with a stop-loss order placed below the psychological $200 level.

For a look at today’s earnings schedule, check out our earnings calendar.