Online education technology leader Chegg (CHGG 3.21%) continues to power ahead as the COVID-19 pandemic has made its extended learning opportunities more critical than ever. Shares of Chegg have more than doubled to just under $67 a share since the coronavirus outbreak began in earnest.
Yet BMO Capital analyst Jeffrey Silber downgraded the education technology specialist from an outperform rating to market perform -- even as he raised his price target from to $54 to $67 -- saying investors shouldn't expect it to generate any additional value beyond these levels despite the pandemic "accelerating" the push toward online education.
This stock is an A+
Silber's rationale is not as incongruous as it might seem. He agrees Chegg is one of the best run companies in the space and has been able to capitalize on the opportunities the crisis has presented.
The analyst even recognizes the market may push Chegg stock higher as investors search for businesses that can make lemonade out of the lemons COVID-19 has created.
Yet StreetInsider says Silber wrote in a note to clients, "it's tough for us to recommend putting more money in this name at current levels (a sizable all-time high of 14.8x 2020E sales), thus warranting a Market Perform rating."
Chegg has come very far, very fast, and while best positioned to take advantage of renewed interest in distance learning, it's not something that can be recommended at any price. Trading at almost 50 times next year's earnings estimates, Chegg is the star pupil that has already graduated to its full value.