Boy, the good volatility sure is nice. The Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC 0.55%) is up 329 points, or 2.7%, as of 2:34 p.m. ET on Aug. 3, 2022. Some of the biggest Nasdaq gainers include Moderna (MRNA 2.74%) and PayPal (PYPL 3.54%), both up after reporting earnings, and MercadoLibre (MELI 1.95%), ahead of earnings.
Shares of Okta (OKTA 9.81%) are on the rise, as well, after a competitor was acquired at a nice premium. Shares of social media giant Meta Platforms (META -0.71%) are up 5%, finally starting to reverse some of the losses of the past year following its relatively solid earnings results a few days ago.
Upbeat earnings, high hopes leading to today's bounce
Both biotech-giant Moderna and payments-king PayPal reported second-quarter results before trading today. Moderna investors loved the 7% revenue growth and were happy with the $5.24 earnings per share that smoked expectations. In short, shareholders (and buyers) continue to have high expectations for the company.
However, it's not all roses (and COVID-19 booster shots). The company took a $499 million write-down for expired vaccine inventory -- more than double the amount in the first quarter -- and COVID-19 booster-shot volume and revenue has slowed. Moderna's biggest unanswered question: What is its next act if COVID-19 vaccines aren't the same cash cow in the coming years?
PayPal similarly reported better-than expected second-quarter results, with 13% payment volume pushing revenue up 10%, adjusting for currency exchange. While the company reported much slower growth than it has experienced over the past few years, double-digit growth in an environment where people are returning to more in-person shopping is a very real positive. CEO Dan Schulman pointed out that the company's investment in digital wallets and online-checkout solutions is paying off with increased market share.
Shares of Latin American e-commerce and payments-giant MercadoLibre are also rocketing higher today, ahead of the company's earnings report, which is scheduled after market close on Wednesday. Like other e-commerce and web-based companies over the past year, its stock has been pummeled. PayPal and Amazon both turned in results investors liked this week, and it seems like investors have high hopes for MercadoLibre, too.
Okta gets a buyout premium
Cybersecurity is one of the hottest segments out there right now. Billions of dollars will flow into the sector from corporate budgets in the years to come as companies take steps to protect their data and infrastructure from bad actors.
Private-equity firm Thoma Bravo certainly sees the potential. Today's deal for it to buy Ping Identity (PING) for a 63% premium to its prior share price is strong evidence of that.
Investors also seem to believe that Okta, a leader in identity verification and access management, might very well be worth a good bit more than Mr. Market has been valuing it lately.
Has Meta finally bottomed?
Meta Platforms investors may have finally seen peak pessimism pass. The shares are still down more than half from the company's all-time high. This occurred after it reported that second-quarter revenue fell, which was the first revenue decline in the company's history as a public company.
Since then, however, it seems that investors have processed the results and realized that active users grew on all its social media platforms and ad volume was up by double digits. In other words, the company's biggest challenge right now seems to be weak ad demand overall, and that's pulling down prices. This is a cyclical, temporary concern and maybe not as big a problem as it has seemed.
Despite its challenges, Meta remains head and shoulders above every other social media company as an ad platform. At 14 times trailing earnings and 17 times expected forward earnings, Meta's shares are getting very attractive, and today's upwards movement supports that.