If it's earnings season and it isn't a fourth-quarter report, there's a good chance that Snap (SNAP 0.97%) is tumbling. But that's not where Snapchat's parent company is heading after Tuesday afternoon's latest financial update. Snap stock was initially moving higher, earning its keep as one of this young year's hottest stocks.
Snap is now the largest company -- by market cap -- to have more than doubled in 2019. The stock is on the verge of moving higher after back-to-back earnings reports, something that has never happened in its more than two years as a public company. The developer of the creative-media sharing Snapchat app is starting to get things right. Let's go over a few of the reasons it's no longer the laughingstock of the social media industry.
1. Snap beats on both ends of the income statement
There is a lot to like in Tuesday afternoon's report, and it starts with its actual financial results. Revenue rose 39% to $320.4 million, well ahead of the 32% increase that analysts were targeting. Snap's adjusted net loss narrowed from $0.17 to $0.10 per share, less red ink than the $0.12 that Wall Street pros were forecasting.
Snap is no stranger to exceeding expectations, particularly on the bottom line, where it has now posted a narrower deficit than analysts were modeling for four consecutive quarters. However, landing comfortably ahead of top-line targets and moving closer to profitability on the bottom line is a great place to start. When you're the only stateside-listed large cap to more than double in 2019, the best way to silence the naysayers arguing that your stock is priced for perfection is to surpass perfection.
2. Snapchat is making more with less
Growth for daily active users for Snap's flagship app has stalled. It closed out the first quarter with 190 million daily active users -- its first sequential increase in more than a year -- but also a smidgeon below the 191 million that it had a year earlier. Slight declines in North America and Europe are more than offsetting gains elsewhere.
How is revenue surging 39% when daily active user growth is flatlining? Well, average revenue per user has risen from $1.21 to $1.68 over the past year, accounting for roughly all of the top-line burst. This isn't a bad thing.
If Snap can keep making more with less, growth will continue at a heady clip. Tuesday's report finds it expecting revenue to climb another 28% to 37% in the current quarter, and it has already set the precedent of pushing out conservative guidance lately.
3. Success breeds success
When Snap was faltering as an investment, it seemed like it couldn't get anything right. Everything from its Spectacles line of wearable cameras to the late 2017 update of its Android app became dot-com punchlines. Now that the shares are rising (again, this is the only U.S. listed company with a market cap north of $10 billion to have more than doubled this year), it seems as if everything it's touching turns to gold.
Advertisers are flocking to Snapchat, a platform that claims to reach 90% of all 13- to 24-year-olds in this country. Snapchat announced new initiatives three weeks ago -- including gaming and augmented-reality platforms, as well as beefing up its content investments -- and the market's giving it the benefit of the doubt for a change. Snap has transformed from being the joke to being the joker, but it's too soon to say if it will get the last laugh.