Buy Uber Technologies (Uber Technologies Stock Quote, Chart, News, Analysts, Financials NYSE:UBER) on the dips. That’s the advice from Scotia Wealth Management portfolio manager Greg Newman, who sees similarities between today’s UBER and the early-days of Facebook as a public company.
“Listen, this is a speculative stock,” says Newman, senior wealth advisor with Scotia Wealth, speaking on BNN Bloomberg on Friday. “It doesn’t have any earnings — and that’s until 2023 is what analysts are saying, but the company says they’re going to be profitable this year.”
“I’m a fan. I think this is a very ubiquitous global brand. If you are wherever and you’re looking to get a taxi from one place to another, you say ‘Let’s get an Uber,’ so they have so many different ways to monetize,” Newman said. “And they do seem to have a very good management team, so I think this is a very good recovery stock.”
It was about two years ago now that Uber burst onto the scene as a publicly traded company, weeks after its competitor in the ride-hailing sector Lyft went public. And although Uber’s debut was the biggest IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, valuing the company at about $75 billion right off the bat and bringing in $8 billion for the company, the coming out party was still a bit of a disappointment.
It was expected that Uber’s start-out price would be around $50, so when trading began at $42 and the stock stumbled out of the gate, concerns began mounting. Add to that humungous quarterly loss for the decade-old business and, in 2020, a pandemic which chopped at the company’s ride-hailing business, and the end result was a stock that by last fall was down by one-quarter since its IPO.
But the stock vaulted ahead in November, in part on a California court decision that deemed Uber drivers and couriers independent contractors rather than employees — a result which many took as validation of the company’s business model — but also on stronger signs of recovery in ride-hailing and the arrival of effective COVID-19 vaccines foreshadowing a stronger economy just around the corner.
Uber’s early November quarterly numbers brought revenue that was about in line with analysts’ expectations at $3.13 billion versus the consensus $3.20 billion and a hair above expectations on earnings at a loss of $0.62 per share compared to the Street’s call for a loss of $0.65 per share. (All figures in US dollars.)
Just as important, Uber reiterated in November its call for the company to be EBITDA-positive by the end of 2021. Put all that positive mojo into consideration and you get a stock that returned 39 per cent over the second half of 2020 and one that’s gained a further 15 per cent so far in 2021.
Newman said Uber’s early jitters compare with Facebook’s, where the social media giant launched to great fanfare in 2012 only to drop hard, losing more than half of its value in a matter of a few months. The rest is history, of course, as FB has grown to over seven times its original share price and commands one of the largest market caps around.
“I think you want to own a stock like this, one that on a new issue was very well received, a lot of people liked it and it impaled itself and went over the edge. Nobody wanted it anymore,” Newman said. “It kind of reminded me of Facebook.”
“We started buying it way down there,” Newman said. “I think that it depends on what your portfolio is and your risk tolerance and I don’t think you want to have too much of any one name. But, yes, I’m accumulating Uber still at these levels on dips.
Uber posted its fourth quarter full year 2020 financials in February, where the company hit $3.17 billion in its Q4 revenue compared to the expected $3.58 billion and a loss of $0.54 per share versus the expected loss of $0.56 per share. For the year, Uber’s losses were still huge at $6.77 billion but were about 20 per cent better than 2019’s losses of $8.51 billion.
“While 2020 certainly tested our resilience, it also dramatically accelerated our capabilities in local commerce, with our Delivery business more than doubling over the year to a nearly $44 billion annual bookings run-rate in December,” said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a February 10 press release.
“With two global businesses stitched together by world-class tech and increasingly valuable membership programs, we are more focused than ever on making people’s lives a little bit easier—helping them go wherever they want and get whatever they need,” Khosrowshahi said.
A further sign of recovery from the pandemic, Uber announced last month that bookings for both its rides and food delivery businesses had the highest monthly levels in the company’s history.