This has been a week of gains for many investors, but some stocks have naturally done a lot better than the market averages. In particular, shares of Upwork (UPWK 3.17%), Uber (UBER 3.25%), and GoPro (GPRO 3.87%) have soared.
Earnings news fueled the big gains at Upwork and GoPro, but it was a ballot-box victory that sent shares of the leading ride-hailing service higher.
You don't often see a quarterly earnings beat translate into a 44% share price gain -- especially for an already-hot stock that has now nearly tripled year to date -- but that's just how things played out for Upwork on Thursday. The global online platform for contractors and freelancers took off after reporting a 24% increase in revenue in its latest financial update.
Upwork's success in the new normal makes sense. Companies don't want as many people toiling away in their buildings, and there are a lot of skilled people at home hunting for remote work. Upwork offers the perfect platform to connect the two parties, so why wouldn't it post its headiest growth rates in more than two years?
That said, three months ago, Upwork was still only anticipating top-line growth in the 14% to 17% range for the third quarter, and analysts largely concurred -- the Wall Street consensus was for revenue growth of 15%. You'd think that the analysts would know better by now. We saw a similar scenario play out in the second quarter, when Upwork was guiding 6% to 9% in year-over-year revenue growth, but checked in with a 19% increase. The company's small loss in the third quarter was also a lot better than what analysts were modeling for on the bottom line.
The world's leading ridesharing service moved 15% higher on Wednesday -- and is trading 26% higher through the first four trading days of the week -- after a ballot measure favorable to the company passed in California. The country's most populous state had earlier enacted Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), a measure that requires companies with independent contractors to reclassify them as employees -- with all of the associated benefits -- if the jobs they do are central to the business. This would require Uber and other personal mobility and delivery apps to provide health benefits and other perks to their drivers.
AB5 was noble in theory, but it would've crushed business models that were already losing money. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had estimated that his company would've had to raise fares by as much as 40% in Los Angeles and San Francisco and roughly double them in smaller markets to offset the increased costs. So Uber and a few of its peers bankrolled the effort to get Proposition 22 on the California ballot -- a measure that would allow them to keep treating drivers as independent contractors. Surprisingly, a majority of California voters came down in favor of it.
Uber is still trading below its IPO price of $45, but only by around 3%. It joins Upwork in hitting fresh 52-week highs this week.
Friday is GoPro's day to shine. The maker of wearable action cameras is experiencing a revival, and it all came together in the financial update it provided after Thursday's market close. Its revenue more than doubled -- up 114% to $280.5 million -- in the third quarter. The September release of its well-received HERO9 Black model was expected to boost sales, but analysts were forecasting only a 79% top-line surge. Its adjusted profit of $0.20 a share for the quarter was also more than triple the $0.06 a share that the market was expecting.
GoPro's guidance is also ahead of where the Wall Street pros were perched, as it forecasts sell-through of 1.3 million units in the holiday quarter. This tech company has quietly turned back into a market darling. It now has more than 500,000 subscribers for its cloud-based platform, showing that it's finally starting to achieve its goal of becoming more than just a hardware company.