Shares of Shopify (SHOP -1.77%) soared 10% last week. The move might have seemed like par for the course in 2016, 2017, and early 2018 -- when the e-commerce platform provider was one of the market's hottest stocks -- but it was a rare accomplishment these days. You have to go back to early February -- more than seven months -- to find the last time that Shopify shares came through with a double-digit percentage gain.
The recent rarity of a big weekly move isn't leaving investors smarting. Shopify is still beating the market with a 53% return so far in 2018. The shares remain well below their summertime peak, but last week's spike is promising. The stock has popped sixfold since the start of 2016.
It all checks out
Shares of Shopify were already moving higher before a bullish analyst initiation kicked in on Friday morning. The stock had risen in each of the five previous trading days. The stock actually dipped slightly on Friday despite the bullish Wall Street move.
Ygal Arounian at Wedbush is kicking off his coverage of Shopify with an outperform rating. He believes that Shopify -- despite already having more than 600,000 merchant accounts on its platform -- is still in its infancy. He sees it continuing to expand its reach in terms of merchant size as well as offerings. Arounian thinks that Shopify will continue to capture a larger share of money spent on enterprise e-commerce software. He's slapping a $177 price target on the stock, a 14% move higher from current levels and just enough to take out July's all-time highs.
Shopify topped out this summer after putting out mixed second-quarter results. The look back was stellar. Earnings blew away Wall Street expectations, the way they have historically done. However, the increased guidance left investors wanting more. Most of the increase in Shopify's outlook was already realized in the recently concluded second quarter, a small setback for a stock after rallying for more than two years.
The good news for investors is that the 48% to 50% revenue growth that Shopify is targeting for the current quarter is pretty good. Shopify has grown at headier clips in the past (top-line growth has decelerated for more than two years), but it's still the kind of growth that investors willing to accept lofty valuations crave in their investments.
Shopify continues to do a lot of things right as it empowers budding entrepreneurs with the ability to immediately set up digital storefronts that they can quickly populate across various hotbeds of visibility. There will be critics, but a stock doesn't become a six-bagger over the past three years without punishing the naysayers. Momentum is back on Shopify's side, and now it's a matter of time before it hits Arounian's price target and establishes new all-time highs.