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Palantir is good for a trade, this investor says


After a tremendous start last fall, data analytics company Palantir Technologies (Palantir Technologies Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials NYSE:PLTR) has been more or less floating along over the past 12 months. That doesn’t mean investors should be turning away, though. According to portfolio manager Kim Bolton, the stock has some good upside, especially if investors can pick it up a couple of dollars under its current $24 price tag.

“This has become for us more of a trading stock because it sort of stays in a tight range,” said Bolton, President of Black Swan Dexteritas, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Wednesday. “We have a we have a $31 12-month price target.”

Palantir has big data integration and analytics offerings used by government agencies and other organizations. Its Foundry and Gotham platforms sift through reams of data to give users applicable information, with Palantir’s customers including police departments, the US Army, the US Central Intelligence Agency and large multi-national corporations like Airbus and 3M. 

The company has drawn criticism from privacy and rights advocates who say Palantir’s analytics support invasive and threatening work by organizations in the name of, for example, counter-terrorism efforts. At the time of its NYSE listing, the human rights group Amnesty International published a report saying that Palantir was enabling human rights violations of migrants and asylum-seekers by the US government.

Palantir went public last September through a direct listing, opening at $10 per share. The stock quickly rose to about $25 by the end of November and reached a high of $39.00 by late January, 2021, before dropping down to the $20-$30 range over the past eight months.

Bolton says the market for Palantir’s software is huge, with lots of growth ahead for AI-enhanced data science and machine learning analytics.

“They’ve really become the one that everyone puts as the darling when it comes to the artificial intelligence side of things,” said Bolton. “They have two data analytic platforms [in Gotham and Foundry]. Gotham is the one that really caters more toward the government work that they get and then Foundry is more toward the private enterprise.”

“They basically help organizations operationalize their data so that they can make better decision making, and they’re participating in a massively growing market,” he said. “If you listen to Gartner Research they figure that the total addressable market in this is about $120 billion.” 

Earlier this month, Palantir announced it had been selected by the US Army to develop its Intelligence data fabric and analytics foundation for the US Army’s Capability Drop 2 Program, its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arm. Palantir said it will be deploying Gotham to help with the Army’s efforts at “data integration, correlation, fusion and analytic capabilities that prepare the Army for the next fight against emerging near peer threats.”

“We look forward to the continued partnership with [the Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors] PEO IEW&S and the Army’s Intelligence Community in providing new and exciting technology that help them in their modernization efforts,” said Doug Philippone, Palantir’s Global Defense Lead, in an October 5 press release.

On its financials, Palantir last reported earnings in August where the company’s second quarter 2021 featured revenue up 49 per cent year-over-year to $376 million and a GAAP net loss per share of $0.07. Palantir said its US commercial revenue grew by 90 per cent from a year earlier and the company closed 62 deals of $1 million or more over the second quarter while adding 20 net new customers. (All figures in US dollars.)

Looking ahead, management has called for third quarter revenue to come in at $385 million with an adjusted operating margin of 22 per cent. Further afield, the company said it’s expecting annual revenue growth of 30 per cent or greater for 2021 to 2025.

“With our balance sheet and a strengthening cash flow profile, we plan to continue to invest in both product innovation and broadening distribution as well as partnering with day 0 companies to help them rapidly scale their businesses while leveraging our software platforms,” said CFO Dave Glazer in the company’s second quarter conference call. 

“In the first half of the year, we committed to invest $250 million and we funded approximately $20 million of those commitments to date. We have and expect to continue to make additional strategic investments in the future,” he said.

For Bolton, the fact that Palantir’s contracts are longer-term in nature with large corporations and governments spells well for the company’s stability and growth going forward.

“Palantir has a very strong core holding of clients, very large clients. The average contract length that they have for these is just shy of four years,” Bolton said. “But there is a concentration certainly over into the government side so that Foundry has really started to ramp up and smooth things out because about 60 per cent of their revenue actually comes from their top 20 clients, which are primarily government contracts.”

“Here at around $24, you have about a 26-27 per cent upside from this point, but I think it also gets very interesting if you can actually get it down toward that $21 and $22 area,” he said.

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About The Author /

Jayson is a writer, researcher and educator with a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Ottawa. His interests range from bioethics and innovations in the health sciences to governance, social justice and the history of ideas.
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