Friday was not a good day to be an owner of next-generation fintech titles. For proof, look at the performances of SoFi Technologies (SOFI 7.41%) and Affirm Holdings (AFRM 9.47%) stock, both of which sagged by more than 1% on the day, while the S&P 500 index effectively stayed flat.
We can't really blame either company for their respective declines. Rather, it was disheartening news from a peer that did them in.
Friday morning before market open, SoFi and Affirm's fintech peer Upstart reported preliminary second-quarter results. These, unfortunately, gave investors little reason for optimism as the company said it's likely to post significantly lower revenue compared to the same period last year and book an eight-figure loss much deeper than expected.
Stocks in a particular sector or segment don't always move in harmony when one company reports a bit of news. Also, while they're all fintechs, SoFi and Affirm are different types of companies from Upstart. SoFi aims to bring elements of social media to traditional finance-industry offerings; Affirm is a buy now, pay later (BNPL) specialist; and Upstart is a new-generation lender that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) in its business.
Still, all three companies are operating in the same economic environment in which loan defaults have lately been on the rise. To compound that, the global economy is widely expected to hit some rough seas in the short- to mid-term future.
That said, both SoFi and Affirm are at the top of the league in their respective segments. SoFi's business model is unique and particularly appealing to younger people aiming to get a tighter grip on their financial lives, while Affirm's BNPL offerings should be attractive to consumers particularly during an economic slump. If I were a shareholder in either company, I wouldn't be too discouraged by Upstart's news.