A lot of growth investors are hurting this week, but not everybody is in pain. Shares of Upwork (UPWK -0.73%), Royal Caribbean (RCL 1.81%), and Snap (SNAP 0.32%) have moved sharply higher so far this week.
Why are these three stocks soaring when the some of the market's hottest names are slumping? Let's see why Upwork, Royal Caribbean, and Snap are bucking the bears with bullish sentiment in this market correction.
Living up to its name for the second quarter in a row, shares of Upwork have gone up sharply at Wednesday's open after putting in the work for a blowout quarter. The online marketplace for freelancers and contractors came through with its strongest financial report in its nearly three years as a public company. Revenue climbed 32% for the fourth quarter, well ahead of the 23% that analysts were targeting. Upwork also surprised the market with a quarterly profit on both a reported and adjusted basis.
The new normal is built for Upwork's model, which pairs up employers that need tasks done with contractors who can do the job remotely for less than an in-house hire. Upwork's platform provided $727.7 million worth of gigs in the fourth quarter, a third more than a year earlier. Upwork's take rate, the percentage it keeps as the middleman, is inching higher.
Its guidance calls for 29% to 31% in top-line growth for the new quarter. We've seen this before: Upwork issues conservative guidance. It blows it away. The stock surges with a double-digit percentage gain in the process.
Shares of the cruise line operator moved 4% higher on Tuesday, on top of a 9% ascent on Monday. The country's second-largest cruise line has held up better than its two publicly traded rivals since the pandemic began, largely because it has historically been the better performer with strong margins and healthier retention than its competitors.
The stock has been moving higher after kicking off the week with its quarterly results. The fourth quarter was brutal, but it was the cruise line's optimistic outlook that got the market buzzing. Royal Caribbean announced that bookings for the first half of next year are coming in at historical ranges and with passengers willing to pay higher prices. A good chunk of the reservations are coming from folks using enhanced future cruise credits from canceled sailings, but 75% of its current bookings are new reservations.
Challenges remain, but with Royal Caribbean now already sailing on a limited basis in Singapore, Germany, the Canary Islands, Greece, and the Middle East, it seems to be proving that it can safely operate in the new normal. With vaccinations starting to step up, the process of getting back to business will be made that much easier.
Snapchat's parent company hosted its first investor day on Tuesday, and if the stock's 11% pop during an otherwise dreary day is any indication, it should host the event more often. The social media platform made the most of the spotlight, offering an upbeat outlook.
Snap sees a long runway, believing that global smartphone opportunities and its ability to perpetually improve its average revenue per user will translate into annual revenue growth of at least 50% for several more years. It's an important take because analysts are currently eyeing revenue to grow just below 50% this year, decelerating to 38% in 2022.
This isn't just a top-line story. Snap sees its gross margin climbing from 25% last year to the mid-30% range in 2021. It believes gross margin will eventually top 60% in a few years.
Engagement continues to be strong, and this is making it easier to expand the social media app's offerings. Something as simple as its Map feature is now being used by 250 million monthly active users, and this helps Snap attract even more advertisers to the platform. The market doesn't view Snap as a gaming hub yet, but there are already 30 million Snapchatters playing games on the app. A shopping portal currently in beta is gaining traction, and it's another potentially lucrative outlet.