stock surged Wednesday despite the company posting weak guidance, as an analyst upgraded shares on confidence the worst is over.
Loop Capital Markets analyst Hal Goetsch upgraded shares of the artificial intelligence lending platform to Buy from Hold. He also maintained his $24 price target despite “an ugly guide” for the first quarter.
(ticker: UPST) said it expects revenue of about $100 million for the first quarter of 2023, lower than analyst expectations of $159.4 million, according to
“We believe UPST is closer to the very end of a difficult period for participants on both sides of its platform,” Goetsch wrote in a research note Wednesday. “The demand side for loans is very high as core UPST consumers have jobs yet are running out of savings and liquidity after several years of stimulus.”
Upstart management said on the earnings call with investors that the near-term outlook continues to be tied to the macro economy, and that they “continue to price loans with a conservative assumption of further degradation in the macro environment.”
Not all analysts are as optimistic about Upstart.
Wedbush analyst David Chiaverini rates the stock as Underperform with a $10 price target and wrote in a research note that “Upstart continues to price loans conservatively under the assumption that there will be further macro degradation, which could drive approval rates lower, and guidance assumes traditional 1Q seasonal headwinds, further tightening from funding partners, and a withdrawal of the balance sheet as a funding source.”
Fourth-quarter earnings results did come in above Wall Street estimates. Upstart posted a loss of 25 cents a share on revenue of $146.9 million, which was better than the FactSet consensus of a loss of 47 cents a share and revenue of $133.6 million.
Shares of Upstart jumped 26% Wednesday to $21.26, and were on pace for their largest percent increase since November 2022, according to Dow Jones Market Data. The stock has soared 61% this year.
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