Do you have faith in analysts? If you don't, it's not as if you wouldn't be justified. They can miss the boat just as easily as they can hit a home run, and their collective track records are just so-so.
In the case of Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR ), though, I'm inclined to believe in their newfound bullishness on the company despite the fact that investors dumped TWTR stock following the recent earnings beat.
Most of these men and women have been following the company for a long, long time. They not only know what makes it tick, they're (mostly) able to examine it through a lens that isn't clouded by the emotions that can unduly influence the average investor.
Why Twitter Tanked
For all intents and purposes, Twitter's first quarter validated the company put into place during the latter half of last year, seeking to make the microblogging platform all it could be.
Revenue of $664.9 million not only handily topped estimates of $607.6 million, but was up 21% year-over-year. The company swung from a loss of nine cents per share in Q1 of 2017 to an operating profit of 16 cents last quarter. Analysts were only calling for earnings of 12 cents per share of Twitter stock.
So why did TWTR shares tank on Wednesday following a pretty solid first quarter, and then rekindle that selling on Friday?
CEO Jack Dorsey gave the bears (and the short sellers) the opportunity they wanted, capitalizing on his comment : "we face increasingly difficult comparables in the second half of 2018 as we approach the anniversary of the broad-based recovery that began in the second half of 2017."
If you give the sellers an inch, they'll take a mile.
Of course, this is a rather fragile stock anyway when it's most often compared to bigger rival Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB ) or presumed to be a little too much like a persistently disappointing Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP ).
What if, however, Dorsey was only trying to temper expectations, taking some small lumps now rather suffering bigger ones later? That may well be (more or less) the game being played here, with analysts seeing through it and ultimately finding opportunity.
Four. That's how many analysts upgraded TWTR stock after the company's fourth quarter report. Two of them were upgrades from pessimistic views to neutral ones, and two neutral outlooks were bumped up to outright bullish ones.
Macquarie analyst Benjamin Schachter now rates Twitter stock an "Outperform," explaining of the upgrade : "We believe that this is a story stock that can rise as long as business and usage trends continue to improve." UBS analysts Eric Sheridan and Alexandra Kasper noted with their upgrade: "We feel more confident in Twitter's long-term ad revenue growth trajectory."
Not bad, particularly for the short time span. More upgrades could be in the cards once the pros have a few days to think about it.
Even the pros that didn't explicitly upgrade TWTR shares offered some encouraging words. GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives wrote : "This quarter shows the monetization and ad growth machine at Twitter is finally heading in the right direction after years of a 'one step forward two steps back' strategy."
Wedbush's Michael Pachter, who rated Twitter stock as "Neutral," conceded, "Twitter appears to be making progress, and we are prepared to revisit our investment thesis and price target if the company shows it can sustain user and revenue growth."
It's not the kind of banter one would normally expect to hear about a struggling stock.
Bottom Line for TWTR Stock
So are investors just missing the boat that the analyst community increasingly is jumping on? Eight times out of ten I'd side with the collective wisdom of the crowd rather than trust the pros, who are smart but often late or misguided when it comes to story stocks.
This is one of those two-out-of-ten times, however, where the experts have arguably figured out exactly what Twitter is and how that should impact the current and future price of TWTR stock.
A closer inspection of just the recent analyst comments alone makes it clear the professional handicappers understand this is a story stock driven more by the trajectory of the fundamentals than the fundamentals themselves. This is a group of analysts that knows the growth effort will be ugly at times, and they don't seem to care.
That's the long way of saying you may want to buy the TWTR shares everyone else seems to be selling.
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As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. You can follow him on Twitter, at @jbrumley .
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