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Why MercadoLibre Stock Popped Before Earnings Today

By Rich Smith - Mar 1, 2021 at 1:05PM

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Earnings news is due out in a few hours -- but sales growth may be more important than profits.

What happened

Shares of Argentine e-commerce star MercadoLibre (MELI -0.73%) are shooting higher Monday, up 3.9% as of 1:35 p.m. EST after analysts at investment bank Credit Suisse gave the stock a lift -- and a higher price target.

So what

MercadoLibre stock, which sells for just under $1,700 currently, will be worth $1,925 a share within 12 months, argues Credit Suisse in a note covered today on TheFly.com.

CS cites an unspecified preannouncement of fourth-quarter earnings results (the official results are due out this evening, after close of trading), arguing that the company's anticipation of an operating loss for Q4 implies that MercadoLibre is not concerned with making a profit right now, but rather is returning to "the more aggressive growth path it set out for itself back in 2017," reports TheFly.  

Stock up glowing green arrow climbs on a stock screen

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Most analysts who follow the stock are still hoping that MercadoLibre will report both revenue growth and a profit, however. According to the latest collation of estimates prepared by Yahoo! Finance, MercadoLibre's expected to report a $0.05-per-share profit this evening, and 79% sales growth to $1.2 billion.

If CS is right, however, it may not matter if MercadoLibre misses on earnings tonight, so long as its sales growth rate is sufficiently speedy -- basically a "heads MercadoLibre wins, tails it doesn't lose" prediction. Investors seem to like the sound of that.

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Stocks Mentioned

Mercadolibre, Inc. Stock Quote
Mercadolibre, Inc.
MELI
$660.13 (-0.73%) $-4.87

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