Reversal of Fortune at Snap After Analysts and Investors Alike Face Reality

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Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) is back at its earnings game, and the initial move higher after the earnings report had reversed into a loss for the social media player’s shareholders on Wednesday morning. What is so amazing about Snap is not just that it is still losing money and not just that its outside shareholders have no power at all, it’s that Snap still has a $15 billion market capitalization.

Snap posted better-than-expected results after the close on Tuesday. Investors should note that this company is still not generating a profit. The so-called camera company said that it had a net loss of $0.14 per share on $262 million in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates calling for a net loss of $0.17 per share and $251.19 million in revenue.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, the camera company expects to see revenues in the range of $265 million to $290 million and adjusted EBITDA loss of $185 million to $160 million. The consensus estimates are a net loss of $0.15 per share and $290.8 million in revenue for the quarter.

Snap was up 0.5% at $13.12 ahead of the earnings report and initially traded up handily before settling back down. 24/7 Wall St. has highlighted some of the analyst calls on the heels of the news.

Stifel maintained Snap as Hold and the target price was cut to $15 from $17.

Wedbush raised its target price to $11.50 from $10 while maintaining a Neutral rating.

Credit Suisse maintained its Outperform rating but lowered its target price on Snap to $15 from a $16.

CFRA (S&P) downgraded Snap to Sell from Hold and lowered its target by $1 per share to $10. The report from Scott Kessler said:

Global peers have a median price to 2018 sales of 8.5X and a median price to 2018 sales to growth ratio of 34.2. Applying these ratios to Snap and averaging the outputs results in our target. We lower our per-share loss estimate for 2018 to $0.56 from $0.60 and 2019’s to $0.43 from $0.39, while establishing a 2020 loss forecast of $0.23. SNAP posts a second quarter non-GAAP loss of $0.14 vs. $0.16, $0.03 better than our estimate and S&P Capital IQ consensus. Revenues rose 44%, above our forecast, despite sequential declines in daily active users (DAUs) across all of the company’s major geographies, reflecting a 34% increase in global ARPU (average revenue per user).

Merrill Lynch remained one of the more positive firms with its Buy rating, and it raised its price objective to $16 from $15 in the call. Merrill Lynch’s Justin Post already had called for softer daily active users and cited better revenues and lower losses. His report said:

While clearly not out of the woods on the app redesign and competition, we’re encouraged by progress in cash burn ($234 million versus $268 million in the first quarter), user monetization, and ad pricing (advertiser ROI). Potential drivers from here include the Android rebuild launch (DAU reacceleration), programmatic transition completion & ad pricing bottoming, and better cost discipline under the new CFO.

Snap shares fell to $12.04 early Wednesday before starting to recover, after having surpassed its average daily trading volume of 22.9 million in the first half hour. They were last seen down 6.2% at $12.30 apiece, in a 52-week range of $10.50 to $21.22/ Its pre-earnings consensus analyst price target was $11.78.