Why Wall Street Is Piling Back Onto the Uber Wagon

Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) has had a rough time since its 2019 initial public offering. At least until recently. With its shares up over 30% year to date, and with a forecast of breakeven to potential profitability measures in late 2020, analysts and investors have been jumping back on the Uber ride.

Though Uber is still losing money, some of the company’s growth metrics remained very enticing to growth-oriented investors. Gross bookings increased 28% year over year to $18.1 billion, up 30% in constant currency. Monthly Active Platform Consumers increased by 22% to 111 million, up from 91 million. Uber’s total number of trips increased 28% year over year to 1.91 billion, compared with the same period last year when Uber reported 1.49 billion trips. Its adjusted net revenue growth accelerated to 41% year over year, or 43% on a constant currency basis, to $3.73 billion.

Merrill Lynch jumped on Uber with a higher price objective on February 7, reiterating its Buy rating and raising that price objective to $49 from $47 in the call. The firm talked about Uber having EBITA and bookings above street estimates and targeting an EBITDA breakeven by the fourth quarter of 2020. The firm sees industry rationalization continuing for Uber but, more importantly, it sees Wall Street gaining confidence if it gets closer to and into profitability.

CFRA reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $48 from $43 on February 7. The firm talked up Uber’s forecast for breakeven on an EBITDA basis with margin expansion in Rides and improving rates for the Eats category.

Canaccord Genuity reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target to $55 from $50 on February 7. The firm noted that Uber made steady progress in the fourth-quarter report as expanding take rates and improving margins are pulling profitability into this year rather than next year.

Other firms have also been positive on Uber after last week’s earnings and even ahead of earnings.

  • On February 7, MKM Partners raised Uber to Buy from Neutral with a $45 target price.
  • Oppenheimer reiterated its Outperform rating and raised its target to $50 from $45 on February 7.
  • Needham reiterated its Buy rating and raised its target price to $56 from $50 on February 7.
  • Wedbush Securities reiterated its Overweight rating and raised its target from $50 to $52 on February 7.
  • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey reiterated its Buy rating and $56 target price on February 7.
  • JPMorgan started Uber as Overweight with a $51 target price on January 31.
  • UBS started it with a Buy rating and a $56 target price on January 28.

Along with Uber’s earnings report last week, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said:

2019 was a transformational year for Uber and I’m gratified by our progress, steadily delivering against the commitments we’ve made to our shareholders on our path to profitability. We recognize that the era of growth at all costs is over. In a world where investors increasingly demand not just growth, but profitable growth, we are well-positioned to win through continuous innovation, excellent execution, and the unrivaled scale of our global platform.

Uber stock was up another 1.5% at $41.24 a share shortly after the opening bell on Monday, and that was after a 9.5% gain to $40.63 on Friday. Uber has traded since its IPO as low as $25.58 and as high as $47.08.

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