If at first you do succeed, try and try again. iQiyi (NASDAQ:IQ) has become one of the market's most consistently hot stocks over the past month. Shares of China's leading streaming-video platform rose 22.4% last week, stretching its streak of double-digit percentage gains to four weeks in a row. The stock has now doubled over the past four weeks.
iQiyi stock rose for seven consecutive trading days before a slight retreat on Friday. Momentum continues to build. The 61.6 million shares traded on Friday is the highest single-day volume for the stock since the day it went public in late March, and we're talking about a stock that has gone on to nearly triple from where it closed on its first day of trading as a then-broken IPO. In other words, the value of the shares trading hands in a single day has never been higher than it was on Friday. One more streak to throw into the corporate record book: iQiyi's trading volume has now increased for six weeks in a row.
What drove last week's move higher?
Accelerating trading volume and a consistently buoyant share price suggest a flurry of positive news developments for a stock that wasn't exactly a hit out of the trading gate when it went public less than three months ago, but most of the events surrounding iQiyi in recent weeks aren't typically game changers. Last week's news featured board changes, an artificial intelligence (AI) competition, new original content, record-setting advertising for one of its reality shows, and the launch of a digital wallet. It seems more like a flurry of bunt singles than homers, but string together enough bunt singles and you can score some runs. Let's size up the five newsy morsels.
Ctrip CEO Jane Jie Sun and Baidu executive Haifeng Wang -- the general manager of the search giant's AI group -- joined iQiyu's board on Thursday, replacing a pair of outgoing directors. Baidu is the dot-com darling that took iQiyi public and continues to have a sizable stake, so that appointment isn't a surprise. Ctrip's Sun as an independent director is a welcome move, but not much of a needle-mover in the grand scheme of things.
The artificial intelligence competition is interesting, but little more than that at this point. iQiyi began taking applications for the Celebrity Video Identification Challenge, a competition for AI programmers to raise the bar in video-based multimodal biometric recognition. It expects hundreds of submissions.
In content news, famed filmmaker Chen Kaige will be teaming up with iQiyi on a premium online drama. The Eight should draw attention given Kaige's pedigree, but investors are used to press releases touting big-name directors trying their hand in the streaming market without jacking up market caps by billions.
iQiyi announcing that Hot-Blood Dance Crew -- its street dance-themed competition show -- broke ad revenue records in the online entertainment industry is definitely encouraging news. The show has scored 1.8 billion views heading into the final episode of the season earlier this month, and 11 major brands jumped on sponsors. However, the development shouldn't be taking the market by surprise since social media's been buzzing about the show for weeks.
Then we get to Change Plus, the online wallet that iQiyi is teaming up with aiBank to offer. It will integrate entertainment and financial services. An interesting perk here is that Change Plus customers who meet certain balance requirements will receive iQiyi's VIP membership, the premium platform that now has more than 60 million members. It's a potentially lucrative win-win partnership, but probably not enough to spearhead the stock's biggest week in terms of market cap appreciation.
Investors will take it, of course, and it's probably not a coincidence that the monster gains and the stock's reversal came after it announced blowout results in its first quarter as a public company in late April. We're more than a month away from the next financial update, and it may take more than just bunt singles to keep this impressive winning streak going until then.