Snap to It!

06/06/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: TECHNOLOGY

Michael Cintolo

Vice President of Investments and Chief Analyst, Cabot Heritage Corporation

After a couple of years of awful post-IPO performance, most have figured out that Snap (SNAP) — operator of the popular Snapchat photo-sharing social media app — isn’t going to be another Facebook (FB), cautions Mike Cintolo, growth stock expert and editor of Cabot Top Ten Trader.

But the company has been steadily improving its offerings and results, which has led to good performance this year and a solid setup despite the down market.

In recent quarters, Snap has fully revamped its Andriod app (25% smaller, opens 20% quicker), which has led to increased engagement; its Discover offering allow users to keep up on videos of friends and others they follow, with 450 premium content channels in all.

In addition,  the firm has continued to boost ad capabilities, tightened up costs, and possibly most important, put in a new CEO and other top brass.

The result: User growth perked up a bit in Q1 (190 million daily users, up four million from Q4 and reversing declines the prior three quarters), revenue growth is remaining strong  — 39% in Q1, which was about 10 points higher than expected — while free cash flow actually totaled 14 cents per share, and management expects Q2 revenue to come in well above 30%.

 To be fair, the key going forward could be user growth—similar to Twitter (TWTR), if big investors think the company’s customer base can’t expand, it’s unlikely the stock will crank ahead.

But at this point, many are thinking Snap’s past problems are fixable, with Q1 being a sign of that. If user growth picks up and the successful monetization efforts continue, we think Snap could surprise on the upside.

From $29 in early 2017 to 5 at last year’s market bottom, it was a massive, long decline for SNAP. But the action since then has been impressive — the stock soared back to 9 after a solid Q4 report and made steady progress after that, rising to $12.6 in early April.

The stock pulled back to 10, which was reasonable, and has actually perked up the past three weeks as the market has fallen apart. If you want in, you could nibble here and look to add on any breakout above 13 going forward.

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