Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) remains more than difficult for most investors to value using traditional earnings and revenue metrics. With millions upon millions of shares under the IPO lock-up having been freed, several analysts have raised their ratings in the past couple of weeks. Shares have even bounced and tried to stabilize, even if the past week has been a slight negative.
This is the sort of movement that might make some investors think that Twitter has bottomed out. Twitter’s stock is down almost 25% since its earnings report.
Several Wall Street analysts have raised Twitter, with most ratings going from the equivalent of Sell up to the equivalent of Hold or Neutral. These are the analyst calls seen in the last two weeks: Morgan Stanley raised Twitter to Neutral from Underperform, as did Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Atlantic Equities raised Twitter to Neutral from Underweight with a price target of $35, and Wunderlich raised the rating to Hold from Sell with a $38 price target. SunTrust was the most positive by raising the rating to Buy from Neutral, raising its price target to $45. We have not seen a single downgrade since all those locked-up shares were let loose.
On the valuation front, Twitter still trades at close to 23 times revenues and 129 times forward earnings. If you are buying Twitter, it is because you believe there will be value in 2016 or even further out. Still, the major price declines have abated, even if the shares pulled back from last week’s highs by 5% or so.
We once warned that Twitter shares were at risk of breaking under the $26 price at its initial public offering. That was when shares were trying to break under $30, when the stock managed to get under $30 on one day. Now it seems as though the market makers from the underwriting syndicate firms are also defending the stock, and the analysts who are now able to get in close to that IPO price are no longer downgrading the stock.
Twitter will not be immune if the broader market selling continues, nor if the treatment of speculative no-earnings high-multiple stocks remains cautious. That being said, it seems ever easier to think that the major selling waves have petered out.
Monday’s close with a drop of $0.19 to $32.07 may hardly seem like a success. Now consider that the low of $29.51 was hit on May 7 and Twitter’s stock has not closed under $32.00 since May 8.
You never know what the real bottom is on any stock. That is particularly true for a stock like Twitter. And there is that whole difficulty in finding a proper valuation. However, Twitter shares sure act like they are trying to find a point of stabilization.