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Why Roku Fell 3% on Wednesday

By James Brumley – Aug 11, 2021 at 3:37PM

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Investors look like they're finally starting to ask valuation questions now that growth isn't so easy to come by.

What happened

Shares of streaming technology maker Roku (ROKU 9.58%) fell 3.2% today. The modest selling materialized on no news, but does extend a suspicious 23% slide from last month's highs that reached new multi-week lows on Wednesday.

So what

Last quarter's results get the bulk of the superficial blame. Although the stock was already sliding before last Wednesday's post, lackluster user growth accelerated the effort. The company now boasts 55.1 million regular users of its devices, but analysts were anticipating pandemic-prompted growth to continue pumping up that figure to 56 million. Not even a 46% year-over-year improvement in the average amount of revenue being produced by those 55.1 million people was enough rekindle a rally.

Investor looking at a falling chart displayed on a computer screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Platform revenue like advertising and the company's cut from selling streaming subscriptions more than doubled, while revenue linked to the sale of hardware was essentially flat. The disparity underscores worries that the company may now be struggling to meaningfully expand its user base.

Now what

Were it just Wednesday's lull in a vacuum, the matter might not be worth mentioning. Given the stock's poor performance before and after Roku's second-quarter earnings release at a time when COVID-19's economic dust is settling, however, prospective buyers would be wise to consider what the market is saying about the company in its current circumstances. It's entirely possible investors are starting to collectively doubt this company merits a valuation of nearly 23 times its trailing-12-month revenue -- an incredible 12-month span for the entire streaming industry -- and a price of nearly 200 times its income produced during that same solid 12 months.

That's not to suggest the company is a bad one; Roku's a great company. It's simply to suggest the company may really be starting to struggle in terms of justifying the stock's enormous run up last year.

James Brumley has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Roku. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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