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Why Snap Stock Jumped Today

By Evan Niu, CFA – Apr 5, 2019 at 12:40PM

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Wall Street digests Snap's news yesterday.

What happened

Shares of Snapchat parent Snap (SNAP -1.18%) are jumping today, up 5% as of 11:20 a.m. EDT, after the company unveiled a handful of new offerings yesterday. Wall Street analysts were somewhat mixed on the news, but some upgraded Snap shares in research notes this morning.

So what

On Thursday, Snap hosted its first partner conference and unveiled a new mobile gaming platform that would be ad-supported and free for users. Titles will include original games and third-party games from partner developers. Snap is also launching eight more Snap Originals, exclusive short-form video content with shows that typically run just a few minutes. Snapchat will get additional augmented reality (AR) video filters that aren't focused on selfies but instead incorporate AR technology into other types of overlays like famous landmarks, among others. Snapchat will soon allow users to share Stories on other third-party apps, too.

Three screenshots of group calling interface in Snapchat

Image source: Snap.

As part of its growing ad business, Snap announced the Snap Audience Network, an ad network that will allow it to run ads in other apps. The most prominent digital advertising businesses utilize ad networks to expand their reach and ad-targeting capabilities.

Now what

The Snap Audience Network is potentially the most important of the announcements, as the core Snapchat platform has seemingly peaked in terms of user growth. Lacking user growth, launching an ad network could allow Snap to continue growing its advertising business outside of Snapchat.

However, analyst reactions were mixed. Morgan Stanley analysts believe the new offerings have potential but "material monetization of this new engagement is not as straightforward," opting to keep a sell rating and $5.50 price target. Stifel has a neutral rating and $10 price target, with analysts saying the announcements showed Snap can still innovate. Summit Insights upgraded Snap shares from sell to hold while doubling its price target from $5 to $10. Bank of America Merrill Lynch kept its neutral rating but increased its price target from $10 to $12.

Overall, analysts were cautiously optimistic about the news, recognizing the potential while waiting to see if Snap can execute.

Evan Niu, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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