What happened

Shares of Snapchat owner Snap Inc. (NYSE:SNAP) popped 7% in early trading Friday. It couldn't hold onto (all of the) gains, but as of 12:45 p.m. EST, Snap shares are still up a good 4%.

Now here's the question: Why did Snap stock pop, and why couldn't it hold onto the gains?

Fingers snapping.

"Snap!" Snap shares soar. "Poof!" Snap gains disappear again. Image source: Getty Images.

So what

I suspect there's a single answer to both questions, and its name is Cascend Securities.

An NYC-based research firm that apparently focuses its efforts on tech and social media stocks, with occasional forays into "cannabis research," Cascend is a pretty low-profile shop -- enough so that S&P Global Market Research, which tries to keep track of these kinds of companies, has a name and address on file for Cascend but no other information about it.

Be that as it may, it was Cascend that helped send up Snap stock today, when it upgraded Snap shares from "sell" to "hold," as reported by StreetInsider.com this morning.

Check out the latest Snap earnings call transcript.

Now what

No other details are available on why Cascend recommended Snap stock, however -- nor was any price target given -- which may explain why Snap shares are struggling to hold onto their gains after investors' knee-jerk reaction to buy the stock upon hearing about the upgrade. Absent some further detail on why Cascend likes Snap stock, which would enable investors to decide whether the analyst's upgrade has merit, I'd expect Snap shares to quickly give back the rest of today's gains.