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Why Is Affirm Plunging on Monday?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Sep 13, 2021 at 2:45PM

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The high-flying fintech is giving back some recent gains.

What happened

The stock market was having a so-so day on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average slightly higher and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indexes lower by less than 1% as of 2:15 p.m. EDT. However, buy now, pay later company Affirm (AFRM 1.46%) was a big underperformer, with shares down by 11%.

So what

There isn't any company-specific news fueling today's decline. In fact, the only major news item specific to Affirm is an analyst increasing its price target. However, there is a potential explanation of why we may be seeing shares pull back.

Person using a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Affirm has been one of the market's best-performing stocks recently. A couple of weeks ago, Affirm jumped more than 40% in a day when it announced a partnership with Amazon, and the stock soared again last week after better-than-expected earnings from the fintech company. In fact, even after today's decline, Affirm is still 63% higher than it was a month ago. So, we could just be seeing a slight cooling off after such a rapid upside move.

Now what

While there isn't any major news today, it's worth noting that there has been some concerning data to emerge about the BNPL space as a whole. One study released last week found that one-third of U.S. consumers who used a BNPL service had fallen behind on at least one payment. A separate study found that about 10% of BNPL consumers in the U.K. were facing collection activity.

To be clear, BNPL continues to be a red-hot growth industry for now and there's nothing in Affirm's latest earnings results to indicate that any consumer activity is a problem for the business. But these trends are certainly worth monitoring as the industry grows.

As far as today's move goes, there doesn't seem to be any driving force behind it other than a pullback after a rally, so if you believe in the BNPL space, and Affirm in particular, over the long run, it could be a second-chance buying opportunity.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Matt Frankel has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Affirm Holdings, Inc. and Amazon. The Motley Fool recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1,920 calls on Amazon and short January 2022 $1,940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Affirm Stock Quote
Affirm
AFRM
$14.62 (1.46%) $0.21
Amazon.com Stock Quote
Amazon.com
AMZN
$94.13 (-1.44%) $-1.37

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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