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Wall Street Loves and Hates Shopify Stock

By Rick Munarriz - Aug 1, 2018 at 3:32PM

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Shares of the e-commerce platform operator move lower after posting second-quarter results, and analysts can't seem to agree on which way the stock is headed.


Shopify (SHOP 1.30%) came through with what seem to be blowout financial results on the surface. Revenue and earnings exceeded expectations in Tuesday morning's second-quarter report, and the e-commerce platform operator boosted its full-year outlook. 

However, there's always more to every earnings beat. And the fact that the stock moved lower after the seemingly solid report is proof that the market wasn't impressed. A few analysts have gone on to temper their expectations for Shopify and slash their price targets. But at least two Wall Street pros are bucking the trend by boosting their opinion of where the shares are heading. 

Shopify apps running across different devices.

Image source: Shopify.

Growth bias

The second-quarter report showed that revenue soared 62% to $245 million, as its subscription and merchant solutions revenue rose 55% and 68%, respectively. Shopify's guidance back in early May was calling for just $230 million to $235 million in revenue. Shopify's adjusted profit of $0.02 a share was better than the small loss that analysts were modeling. This is the third time over the past four quarters that Shopify has posted a modest profit on an adjusted basis while analysts were holding out for red ink.

The solid results didn't stop Michael Olson at Piper Jaffray from downgrading the stock to neutral, lowering his price target from $155 to $145. His concern (and one that's echoed by other unenthused analysts) is that growth is slowing. Monthly recurring revenue rose 49% by the end of June, an indication that deceleration will take place in the near term, as it's below the 57% growth Shopify posted at the end of March and below the 55% in subscription revenue it generated for the entire second quarter. 

Deepak Mathivanan at Barclays is matching Olson's move by slashing his price target from $155 to $145. He points out that gross merchandise volume also decelerated during the quarter, a figure that could weigh on the growth of Shopify's merchant solutions revenue. 

Neither analyst is running for the hills, but they continue to see the stock as overvalued. Even a bull, Roth Capital's Darren Aftahi, is lowering his price target from $192 to $180. He's sticking to his buy rating in light of where the shares are now following the post-earnings sell-off. 

On the other side of the price-goal battle, we see David Hynes at Canaccord Genuity and Colin Sebastian at Baird actually lifting their price targets to $165 following the earnings release and subsequent conference call. Hynes feels that growth is decelerating at a reasonable pace, and he isn't worried about merchant churn. Sebastian concedes that slowing growth, a mixed shelf offering, and guidance calling for an operating loss in the third quarter aren't good looks for a richly valued stock. But he still feels that Shopify's strong market position, prospects for international expansion, and merchant adoption rates of new services make this a stock worth buying. 

Shopify's guidance wasn't great. It's looking at $253 million to $257 million in revenue for the current quarter, suggesting that year-over-year growth on the top line will slow to 48% to 50% in the third quarter. Shopify is boosting its full-year outlook to a range of $1.015 billion to $1.025 billion in revenue -- up from $1 billion to $1.01 billion -- but that $15 million boost is nearly all accounted for in the second quarter, when it landed $12.5 million ahead of guidance. 

There's a story behind every earnings report, and in Shopify's case, several analysts have different stories to tell. 

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