Apps & Software

Who Loves Robinhood and Who Doesn't: The Reviews Are In

Robinhood Markets Inc. (NASDAQ: HOOD) isn’t the only stock exiting its quiet period Monday, but it may be the most closely watched. Before markets opened, at least 10 brokerages had issued initial ratings for the investment app maker, joining three others that had already staked out positions.

A quick review of the share price action since the company’s July 29 IPO may be instructive. The stock added more than $2 early on the IPO date but closed down almost 8.4% after setting what is still its post-IPO low. Four days later, the stock posted its post-IPO high. The next day, the shares dropped by 27.6%, and after bouncing around in a range of around plus or minus $6, the stock closed at $42.64 on Friday, up 12.2% from the IPO price.

Of the 13 ratings so far, only one rating is Underperform, five are the equivalent of Hold and seven rate the stock as a Buy. There are no Strong Buy ratings. That’s an average tilted toward right between Hold and Buy. In Aldous Huxley’s words, “You pays your money and you takes your choice.”

Here are some comments from Monday morning’s ratings on Robinhood.

Goldman Sachs rates the stock at Neutral with a 12-month price target of $56.00, an upside potential of 31.3%. Overall, here is the firm’s view:

We believe HOOD is well positioned to continue to see best-in-class user growth, leveraging its innovative referral program and strong word-of-mouth customer acquisition. In addition, we expect HOOD to increasingly focus on cross-selling its already considerable user base with additional financial services products …

Goldman Sachs bases its price target on an estimated 14 times 2023 enterprise value-to-sales (EV/S) multiple, derived from the estimated 2022 EV/S multiples of the traditional brokerages and “trading oriented” competitors like Interactive Brokers and Coinbase, along with “more fintech oriented” firms like Square and Paypal. For Goldman Sachs, “Key downside risks include lower retail engagement, regulation of payment for order flow, and greater competition for new customer acquisition. Upside risk include[s] higher attach rates on new products or a significant increase in retail engagement levels.”

Barclays initiated the stock with an Equal Weight rating and a $50 price target, representing a potential upside of 17.3%. The analysts choose to ignore the argument over Robinhood’s payment for order flow (PFOF) model and asks the question, ” [I]f we were a growth investor who doesn’t really care about valuation (i.e., a VC), would we back this company? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.'”

The analysts also note “one of the best engineering teams” in fintech, “zero risk” that Robinhood will get bigfooted by the likes of Amazon, Google or Facebook, and “some of the best unit economics and growth profile of any category leader we observe.”