What happened

Shares of Blue Apron Holding Inc. (NYSE:APRN) were gaining today in anticipation of the meal-kit service's first report as a publicly traded company tomorrow morning.

The stock closed up 7.4% and continues to gain in after-hours trading

A selection of vegetables from Blue Apron

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

There was no actual news lifting the stock today, but the trading day before an earnings report is often a high-volume, volatile session, especially for a recently public company like Blue Apron.

The meal-kit provider's challenges since it decided to go public have been numerous: It first sought a pricing range of $15 to $17, but was forced to lower it to $10 due to lack of investor demand, as Amazon said it would buy Whole Foods Market shortly after Blue Apron filed to go public. After it debuted at the end of June, the stock fizzled as the market grew skeptical of its business model, and it's now down nearly 40% since its initial public offering. The company also said in July that its COO and co-founder would step down.

The steep drop since the IPO may explain why some are betting the stock gets a bump when it reports tomorrow.

Now what

Analysts are expecting Blue Apron to report a loss of $0.30 a share on $235.8 million in revenue, or just a 16.7% increase from the year before. That projection even represents a decline from the first-quarter result of $244.8 million. I'd expect the company to be able to beat that figure, but investors will be looking at other factors as well, including customer-acquisition costs and marketing expenses.

Either way, the stock is likely to swing considerably one way or another tomorrow. If Blue Apron misses revenue estimates, I'd have serious questions about the company's ability to keep growing.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.