One of this year's hottest stocks through the first nine months of trading has come under fire in October, but at least one Wall Street pro sees Twilio Inc. (NYSE:TWLO) as a prime candidate to bounce back after the market's recent sell-off. Piper Jaffray analyst Alex Zukin is reiterating his overweight rating on the stock on Monday, viewing this month's 23% pullback as a buying opportunity.
Twilio stock has fallen 25% since hitting all-time highs late last month, but Zukin's $85 price target -- while slightly lower than where the stock was when October began -- suggests that there's 28% of upside from current levels. Zukin believes that demand for the tech darling's in-app communication solutions remains strong among developers after attending Twilio's Signal conference last week.
He also feels that the love-hate relationship with Uber is starting to turn amorous again when it comes to Twilio's Flex platform, after speaking to employees and sales execs at the conference. Twilio continues to be one of this year's biggest gainers, up 181% in 2019 despite this month's sell-off.
An Uber opportunity
The big star at last week's Signal conference was Flex, the first fully programmable cloud contact-center platform that Twilio unveiled back in March. General availability was introduced at last week's developer powwow. Several companies -- including Uber rival Lyft -- are already on Flex, a communications platform that costs its customers as little as $1 per agent hour.
It wouldn't be a surprise if Uber warms up to Flex, especially if the platform lives up to the hype. Uber and Lyft are widely expected to go public in 2019, and this makes both companies unlikely to switch out of or stay away from the best-in-class provider of in-app communication solutions. You can't afford a disruption when you're hoping to IPO with a market cap in the tens of billions, or in Uber's case a valuation as high as $120 billion.
Twilio's fundamentals are on a roll, this month's sell-off notwithstanding. Revenue has accelerated in back-to-back quarters to kick off 2018. Analysts see slight deceleration in the third quarter -- targeting 51% in revenue growth -- when it reports fresh financials in two weeks. It's a good thing for those long the stock that Twilio has been historically conservative in the projections that analysts accept as gospel. The 54% surge in total and base revenue that Twilio reported last time out was well ahead of the 35% to 37% that it offered up as guidance three months earlier.
A reminder to investors that Twilio is an opportunistic buy two weeks ahead of a telltale earnings report is an encouraging sign for those long the stock. Now it's up to Twilio to come through with the spike after the Nov. 6 market close.