Snap Is Down By 38%, Here Is Why

Key Insights

  • Snap says that the economic situation is worse than previously expected. 
  • The company believes that its Q2 adjusted EBITDA will fall into the negative territory. 
  • Snap revenue growth is also expected to slow down. 

Snap Stock Falls After Q2 Warning

Shares of Snap found themselves under strong pressure after the company warned investors that the economic situation deteriorated faster than expected.

As a result, Snap expects that it will report revenue and adjusted EBITDA below the low end of the previous Q2 guidance range. In the first quarter report, Snap  expected to report Q2 revenue growth of 20% – 25% on a year-over-year basis. Adjusted EBITDA was estimated to be between breakeven and $50 million.

The new guidance presented by Snap implies that it will report negative adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter, while its revenue growth would be below 20% on a year-over-year basis.

Not surprisingly, the stock found itself under massive pressure. Shares of other social media companies like Pinterest, Twitter, and Meta are also losing ground at the start of the trading session.

What’s Next For Snap Stock?

Snap stock has lost more than 50% of its market capitalization since the beginning of this year ahead of today’s trading session, and is already down by more than 35% at the start of today’s trading.

Analyst estimates have been moving lower in recent months. Currently, the company is expected to report earnings of $0.34 per share in the current year and earnings of $0.81 per share in the next year, so the stock is trading at 18 forward P/E.

However, these levels do not look cheap as analyst estimates will certainly move even lower after Snap’s warning. The company expects that its growth will slow down while its adjusted EBITDA will fall into the negative territory. Both news are extremely bearish for the stock. In this light, it remains to be seen whether Snap stock will get any support in the near term.

To keep up with the latest earnings updates, visit our earnings calendar.

Social Media Giant Twitter to Post Earnings Per Share of $0.35 in Q4

The social media giant Twitter is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings of $0.35 per share, which represents year-over-year growth of about 8% from $0.38 per share seen in the same period a year ago.

The company would post revenue growth of over 21% to $1.57 billion. Twitter expects revenues of approximately $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021. GAAP operating income is expected to range from $130 million to $180 million, according to ZACKS Research.

With a focus on engineering and products, Twitter expects to increase headcount and costs by 30% or more in 2021. In 2021, the company expects total revenues to grow faster than expenses.

Following Facebook’s disappointing earnings report on Wednesday, shares of social network operators Pinterest, Snap and Twitter all declined.

Twitter stock traded 5.50% lower at $34.48 on Thursday. The stock slumped over 20% so far this year after falling more than 20% in 2021.

Analyst Comments

“Lack of Negative Revisions and Relative Valuation: Valuation continues to be expensive, but we think investors are likely to continue to pay a premium for Twitter (TWTR) given 1) continued turnaround progress and 2) platform scarcity,” noted Brian Nowak, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“Execution Risk Remains Around Driving Advertiser ROI: Advertiser ROI has clearly improved on Twitter, but the company needs to improve ad targeting and measurability to compete with the larger players. To do that it will have to further personalize the content that users see and use its data more effectively, both of which remain key strategic challenges (and priorities) for management.”

Twitter Stock Price Forecast

Twenty-one analysts who offered stock ratings for Twitter in the last three months forecast the average price in 12 months of $52.70 with a high forecast of $80.00 and a low forecast of $32.00.

The average price target represents a 49.97% change from the last price of $35.14. Of those 21 analysts, five rated “Buy”, 15 rated “Hold” while one rated “Sell”, according to Tipranks.

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price to $57 with a high of $79 under a bull scenario and $41 under the worst-case scenario. The investment bank gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the social media giant’s stock.

Several other analysts have also updated their stock outlook. Stifel started coverage with a hold rating and set the target price at $39. Bernstein cut the target price to $40 from $75. Jefferies lowered the target price to $40 from $45. MKM Partners slashed the price target to $51 from $77.

Technical analysis suggests it is good to sell as 100-day Moving Average and 100-200-day MACD Oscillator signals a strong selling opportunity.

Check out FX Empire’s earnings calendar

Top 4 Things Traders Have to Know Today

What is happening with Meta, Paypal and Spotify?

Spotify didn’t actually issue annual guidance, which seems to have exacerbated worries about potential subscriber growth potential. All three were down by double-digits in after hours trading at one point last night.

Competition is clearly much more fierce as larger players are starting to dial it in and use the latest technology to gain better traction i.e. Visa, Mastercard, etc. I also read reports this week that Apple is diving deeper into the payment and banking space and will soon be able to offer all kinds of options via the smartphone.

In simple terms, I wonder if PayPal executives could see they had a “growth” problem and that’s why they took a look at Pinterest a few months back. I heard rumors yesterday perhaps they might be looking at Robinhood.

At the moment the stock market just doesn’t seem real forgiving to those who swing and miss. On a somewhat positive note, Facebook disclosed they purchased back +$20 billion of their own stock in the last quarter.

Bulls are hoping for solid results from Amazon and Snap today to help prevent sentiment in the tech sector from creating more fallout. I’m not holding my breath!

Data to watch

Results are also due from Activision Blizzard, Biogen, Carlyle Group, Check Point, Cigna, Clorox, ConocoPhillips, Deckers Outdoors, Eli Lilly, Estee Lauder, Ford, Hanesbrands, Hershey, Honeywell, Ingredion, Merck, Pinterest, Quest Diagnostics, Royal Dutch Shell, SnapOn, Wynn Resorts, and Xylem.

On the economic data front, Factory Orders, the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, and Productivity and Costs are due today. Productivity and Costs has become a more closely watched report as worries about climbing wages have grown. In the third quarter, productivity fell -5.2% (the most since 1960) and labor costs rose +9.6%.

Obviously, weakening productivity and rising costs is a bad combo for corporate profits so reversing this trend is a high priority. It may be tough to find much relief in the near-term with the labor market expected to remain extremely tight.

The shortage of workers has also been exacerbated by the latest Covid wave. ADP’s private payrolls report yesterday showed a decline of -301,000 jobs for January versus the estimate for a +200,000 gain, the first reported net job less since December 2020 according ADP.

Covid issue

Most analysts blame last month’s Covid surge for the decline and expect it is just temporary. The official January Employment Report on Friday is expected to show a gain of around +150,000 jobs, though the government has warned that the data won’t be reliable due to Covid-related reporting problems. Hopefully we’ll soon stop hearing that excuse as the Omicron Covid wave does seem to be burning itself out in the U.S. Case numbers across the country are about half of what they were in mid-January.

Hospitalizations have finally started to come down, too, which experts say is a more reliable measure. I hate to mention it but health officials are currently monitoring a mutated strain of Omicron known as “BA.2″… when does it end?

The standoff between Ukraine and Russia

Also still on the radar is the standoff between Russia and Ukraine. The U.S. is now readying to send more than +3,000 troops to bases in Eastern Europe as new satellite images appeared to show an even further increase in Russian troop buildup on Ukraine’s borders. Whether or not war is a realistic threat or not, the climbing tensions continue to stoke the flames in the energy markets.

Brent crude futures are trading near $90 as OPEC struggles to meet production targets and global physical supplies continue to tighten. The 19 OPEC+ countries with quotas underperformed their production targets by -832,000 b/d in December. Russia is currently the top OPEC+ producer, so any disruption to those supplies runs the risk of shooting oil prices even higher. Take note the front-end of the natural gas market is up over +50% in the first month of the new year. It’s certainly going to be a wild ride in 2022!

 

Brace Yourself For Another Wild Month In Stock Markets

For the year, the Dow is down -6%, the S&P 500 is down just over -9%, and the Nasdaq has lost -14.7%. The previous record-holder is January 2009, an ugly moment for the economy, when the stock market fell -8.6%. In addition, the VIX – aka the CBOE Volatility Index – has actually dropped back to around 31 after topping 37 earlier this week, its highest point since November 2020.

Keep in mind, the index isn’t registering anywhere close to levels reached during other periods of “extreme” volatility. For example, the index, which is measured between zero and 100, hit its highest point of almost 83 during the financial crisis in 2008. Its most extreme point during the pandemic was around 66 in March 2020. So, by comparison, this week’s volatility has been rather mild.

Federal Reserve

Some insiders equate the wild swings in stock prices to investors, particularly “big money,” trying to establish a new baseline for stock valuations minus the Fed’s easy money policies that have driven a massive amount of cash into markets since the pandemic began in 2020.

At its height, the Fed was pumping as much as +$120 billion per month into the system via its asset purchase program, ballooning its balance sheet to now nearly $9 trillion.

At the same time, the Fed has held its benchmark rate at near-zero and, before that, hadn’t even attempted to raise rates since 2018, and then only briefly. The last full-cycle of rate hikes was 2015. What’s more, investors haven’t really had to factor for inflation since the early 90s and it hasn’t been this high since the 80s.

Bottom line, whatever the new “normal” ends up looking like, it will be dramatically different from the pre-pandemic investing landscape. I’ve heard several large stock traders saying it seems to be the return of Alpha instead of the race to levered Beta. I hear others on Wall Street referencing it to a bit of league recreational youth baseball team where everybody now gets an award simply for participation, but then kids run into a rude awakening when performance really starts to matter.

It feels like we are there in the stock market; every business that was coming into the market was simply being rewarded with participation points, now people are starting to keep a real scorebook and counting the strikeouts and runs scored.

Economy still roars

The good news is that the U.S. economy continues to roar. Historically, a combination of moderate inflation and moderate interest rates has led to some of the biggest boom times for U.S. Last week, the Commerce Department said Q4 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annualized rate of +6.9%, stronger than Q3’s +2.3% and well above Wall Street expectations of around +5.7% growth.

Consumer spending climbed at a +3.3% annual pace led by a +4.7% increase in services spending. But the real stand out was private investment which rocketed +32% higher, boosted by a surge in business inventories as companies stocked up to meet higher customer demand. Rising inventories, in fact, contributed nearly +5% to Q4 GDP growth.

On the one hand, the inventory build is positive because it indicates an easing of supply chain dislocations that should in turn help with inflation pressures. On the other hand, many economists note that the big boost from retailer and wholesaler restocking is not likely to be repeated.

Companies will also likely start to unwind at least some of that inventory in the quarters ahead, which could drag overall 2022 GDP, especially if consumer spending also drops off. And investors are more closely tracking consumer behavior as inflation continues to rise.

With consumer spending accounting for about 70% of the U.S. economy, any signs that belts are tightening or moods are getting overly pessimistic will likely set off some alarm bells.

Data to watch

Turning to next week, it will be another busy one for both key economic data as well as earnings. The main economic data highlight will be the January Employment Situation on Friday. Other key data includes ISM Manufacturing, Construction Spending, and the JOLTS report on Tuesday; ADP’s private payrolls report on Wednesday; Productivity & Costs, Factory Orders, and the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index on Thursday.

Earnings wise, results are due from NXP Semiconductor and Trane on Monday; Advanced Micro Devices, Alphabet, Amgen, Chubb, Electronic Arts, Exxon, General Motors, Gilead Sciences, Match Group, PayPal, Sirius XM, Starbucks, and UPS on Tuesday; AbbVie, Aflac, Allstate, Boston Scientific, CNH, Corteva, D.R. Horton, Ferrari, Humana, Johnson Controls, Meta (Facebook), MetLife, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Qualcomm, Siemens, Thermo Fisher, TMobile, and Waste Management on Wednesday; Activision Blizzard, Amazon, Biogen, Carlyle Group, Check Point, Cigna, Clorox, ConocoPhillips, Deckers Outdoors, Eli Lilly, Estee Lauder, Ford, Hanesbrands, Hershey, Honeywell, Ingredion, Merck, Pinterest, Quest Diagnostics, Royal Dutch Shell, Snap, SnapOn, Wynn Resorts, and Xylem on Thursday; and BristolMyersSquibb, CBOE, Phillips 66, Regeneron, and Sanofi on Friday.

Bottom line, brace for another huge week of extreme volatility.

Today’s Market Wrap Up and a Glimpse Into Friday

Stocks finished the day in the green after investors were able to brush off signs that the economic recovery may have hit a snag. The Dow Jones Industrial Average tacked on more than 150 points, while the S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq also inched higher. The market indices showed resilience even as the delta variant threatens to throw a wrench into economic expansion for the rest of the year.

Second-quarter GDP expanded at an annual rate of 6.5%, which catapults the economy beyond pre-COVID levels but falls short of estimates. Meanwhile, the forecast for the rest of the year could be threatened by the uncertainty from the delta variant. Companies have responded by delaying the return to the office or in some cases reinstating mask policies for consumers. It’s déjà vu all over again.

Investors were able to focus on the glass half full. For example, consumer spending and corporate earnings have been bright spots of late. Meanwhile, supply chain issues seem to be a stumbling block.

Stocks to Watch

Amazon reported its Q2 results, and the stock sank 5% in after-hours trading. While the e-commerce giant reported revenue of slightly more than USD 113 billion, Wall Street analysts were looking for USD 115 billion. Amazon’s revenue outlook for Q3 also falls below consensus estimates, and the stock is being punished. The latest quarterly performance unfolded just before Jeff Bezos was replaced as CEO by Andy Jassy earlier this month.

Pinterest is also under pressure in extended-hours trading, falling 14%. The company fell short on its number of monthly active users, which came in at 454 million compared to estimates of 482 million. This indicator could also come back to bite Pinterest in Q3, for which management failed to provide any forecast and blamed the pandemic.

Robinhood’s IPO was a flop after the stock fell more than 8% on its first day of trading on the Nasdaq. The trading app’s shares opened at USD 38 and finished the day at just under USD 35. Robinhood sought to appeal to retail investors but was in for a rude awakening. The broker finished the day with a market cap of USD 29 billion.

Look Ahead

On the economic front, Personal Income & Spending for the month of June comes out on Friday. Wells Fargo economists predict that income fell 0.2% while spending increased 2% vs. May levels. The weaning away of the stimulus is pressuring incomes.

Twitter Rallies to a 6-Year High

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) rallied to a 6-year high in the first hour of Wednesday’s U.S. session, following a key JPMorgan upgrade. The stock has been on a roll so far in 2020, now posting an impressive 72% year-to-date return. Even so, the social media giant is still trading 20 points below December 2013’s all-time high at 74.73, highlighting years of sub-par performance compared to rival Facebook Inc. (FB) and other industry players.

Trading at Discount to Rivals

The stock is trading at a substantial discount to Snap Inc. (SNAP) and Pinterest Inc. (PINS), with both issues zooming to all-time highs this year. However, a new advertising platform, ongoing activist pressure, and a management buyback plan are improving mixed sentiment, raising odds the company will earn up to 30 times 2022 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and 9.5 times projected 2022 revenue.

JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth upgraded the stock to ‘Overweight’ on Wednesday, raising the price target to $65 while noting, “we are bullish on online advertising in 2021 and expect industry growth to reaccelerate. We believe Twitter will show the biggest rebound given its sharper pandemic-driven ad decline, along with revenue prioritization throughout the company, early benefits from rebuilt ad tech through the new Ad Server and rollout of Map 2.0, and increases in both advertiser count and ad load”.

Wall Street has been playing ‘catch-up’ throughout the year, with Twitter outperforming their modest expectations. Consensus stands at a mixed ‘Hold” rating based upon 7 ‘Buy’ and 19 ‘Hold’ recommendations. One analyst now recommends that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of just $36 to a Street-high $65 while the stock opened Wednesday’s session $8 above the median $47 target.

Wall Street and Technical Outlook

A 7-week rally has now mounted resistance at the .618 Fibonacci retracement of the 2013 to 2016 downtrend at 51, opening the door to continued upside that should reach the .786 retracement at 62. That price level is narrow-aligned with multiple whipsaws that followed the 2014 reversal, marking the last major barrier before Twitter reaches and tests the all-time high in the 70s. While all systems are ‘go’, a trip into that peak could easily take another 6 to 12 months.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Disclosure: the author held no positions in aforementioned securities at the time of publication.