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Why Appian Stock Pulled Back Today

By Jeremy Bowman - Feb 2, 2021 at 6:32PM

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The low-code specialist was one of several stocks that headed downward as the market's short squeezes reversed.

What happened

Shares of Appian (APPN -2.75%), a provider of cloud-based low-code software, pulled back Tuesday, closing the session down by 8.5%.

The only news out of the company was its announcement of a new chief marketing officer, but what seemed to push the stock was the collapse of the short squeezes in WallStreetBets stocks such as GameStop and AMC Entertainment, both of which plunged.

Appian CEO Matt Calkins speaking at a conference

Image source: Appian.

So what

Appian hadn't gotten much attention from the WallStreetBets Reddit subforum, where posts focused more on "deep value" consumer stocks. However, its stock benefited from the same trends against short-sellers in recent months. The share price has more than tripled since November. A strong third-quarter earnings report sparked the rally, but the short squeeze seems to have carried it from there. 

APPN Chart

APPN data by YCharts

Like the Reddit-propelled stocks that have soared, Appian has been significantly shorted, with 32% of its float sold short as of mid-January, which set up an opportunity for the short squeeze . The stock has rallied during two high-volume trading waves in November and January, indicating two separate short squeezes.

As for Appian's actual news Tuesday, the company announced the hiring of Denise Broady as the CMO who will shape the company's marketing strategy and drive its next phase of growth. Broady was formerly an executive at SAP, where she led a $10 billion software business with more than 3,000 products. Still, the timing of that announcement seems purely coincidental relative to the sell-off.

Now what

Given the broader market environment as the other short squeezes continue to unwind, Appian shares should remain volatile in the coming days. The stock is still up by more than 100% since its third-quarter earnings report, and there's been little news out on the company since then.

The company's fourth-quarter earnings report is due on Feb. 18 after the market closes. Analysts' consensus forecast is for overall revenue to rise by 7.8% to $74 million, and for its loss per share to expand from $0.11 to $0.17.

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