It's been a good idea to be long The Meet Group (NASDAQ:MEET) these days. Shares of the social discovery and dating app developer have more than doubled over the past year, hitting fresh highs earlier this week.
The Meet Group is facing its first big test of 2019 this week when it reports financial results for the fourth quarter on Wednesday morning. Thankfully for investors, we already know that the fourth quarter was a hearty one. The real test will be how it sees the year ahead playing out.
The Meet Group stock was already rolling -- up 64% in 2018 -- when it announced in early January that revenue soared 30% to hit $52.3 million in the fourth quarter that ended a week earlier. Earlier guidance was calling for just $47.8 million to $48.8 million on the top line. The strong showing isn't a surprise. It would be the fourth time over the previous nine months that the app developer boosted its guidance for all of 2018.
Streaming video has been a huge component of The Meet Group's growth since the latter half of 2016, but the real needle mover these days is Battles, where a pair of live-streaming users square off in everything from joke-telling to dancing. Virtual gifts dictate the winner, and that provides a juicy financial incentive for popular members to engage others in more Battles with The Meet Group grabbing a piece of the action. By late last year, an average of 30,000 Battles were taking place on a typical day.
The Meet Group is doing just fine for a stock remains off the radar of most growth investors. It has been able to poke around in the shadows of obscurity, assembling a portfolio of niche social discovery and dating sites. Now it's been able to turn on the spigot of the revenue streams flowing with the opportunities presented by live video and now Battles.
Expectations are high. Analysts are naturally already perched near the $52.3 million that it pre-announced two months ago. Wall Street pros are eyeing a profit of $0.12 a share, and after consistently landing ahead of analyst income forecasts over the past year, it's fair to say that merely meeting expectations this time around would be a letdown.
The Meet Group stock is hitting new highs because momentum is on its side. You want to be on the right side of the trade when it reports given its consistent streak of beat-and-raise quarterly performances, but this is also the first taste that the market will get for how The Meet Group sees 2019 playing out. Is the Battles platform losing steam? Are the acquisitions of global social discovery app Skout in 2016 and German dating-app developer Lovoo opening new doors internationally? A stock doesn't double over the past 12 months by accident, and keeping those gains is a challenge if it doesn't live up to the hype. Your move, The Meet Group.