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投资理财

大投行变脸,Snap暴跌

Lucinda Shen 2017年07月16日

Snap被主承销商下调评级,遭遇重创。

Snapchat的新地图功能让用户更容易找到好友,这家公司却很难在华尔街找到以前那些友善的面孔。

上周二盘中,Snapchat母公司Snap的股价重挫近9%,滑落至15.50美元,原因是投行巨擘摩根史丹利将这家阅后即焚照片共享服务商的评级下调至“持有”。这让今年3月份买了Snap首发新股的投资者出现了更大的损失。本周一该公司股价首次跌破17美元的发行价,投资者随即陷入亏损境地。

被摩根士丹利下调评级对Snap的打击特别大,原因是作为该公司的IPO主承销商,摩根士丹利曾带着它走了整套程序,并且帮它确定了首发价。通常,这样的承销商都会在公司上市后成为它的“拉拉队长”,抛出评级为“买入”或“持有”的荐股报告。摩根士丹利也不例外。

Snap上市后,摩根士丹利对前者的评级相当于“买入”,并将12个月目标价定为28美元,这是当时华尔街最乐观的目标价之一。

现在,摩根士丹利却将Snap的目标价下调43%,降至16美元/股,已经低于后者的首发价(周二下午,Snap的股价已经跌至摩根士丹利设定的目标价下方)。

那么,摩根士丹利为什么“变心”呢?该机构的报告显示,以布莱恩·诺瓦克为首的分析师们现在已经不那么相信Snap的增长能力了。实际上,他们完全否定了最坚定拥护者对Snap抱有信心的主要原因,也就是明显的稀缺性和独特的平台。

诺瓦克写道:“我们一直错误判断了Snap的创新能力及其在今年改善广告产品的能力(提高可扩展性、方向性和可衡量性等)。它的广告产品进化/改善的速度没有达到我们的预期,而且Instagram带来的竞争不断加大。”

最近,Snap的投资者越发担心Facebook旗下的Instagram。6月底,Facebook在公告中披露了Instagram Stories,也就是和Snap正面对抗的业务每天的活跃用户数量已经达到2.50亿,比5月份 Snap公布的1.66亿日均活跃用户多50%。

诺瓦克指出:“我们认为Instagram在和Snap争夺广告收入方面已经变得更有侵略性。”

因此,摩根士丹利预计今年Snap的收入为8.97亿美元,远低于此前预测的10亿美元。同时,摩根士丹利还预测Snap到今年底的活跃用户数量只能达到1.82亿。

就在摩根士丹利发布上述报告的前一天,Snap的另一家IPO承销商瑞信银行也将其目标价从30美元下调至25美元。瑞信表示,本月晚些时候持股锁定期结束后,Snap的股价可能下跌。届时许多Snap IPO的支持者以及内部人士就都可以抛售该公司的股票。

不过,Snap仍有机会凭借更好的业绩打动投资者。该公司正在秘密进行的项目有可能让它释放增长潜力。就像一位用户在推特上写的段子一样:

想象一下,当投资者问CEO他打算怎样止住Snap的暴跌势头时,后者用powerpoint展示了这么一张图(一只带着耳机的热狗,旁边的文字是Snapchat 2017年公司策略)

- jack wagner (@jackdwagner) July 10, 2017 

这只热狗实际上是最近在Snapchat上大热的增强现实虚拟形象。它有时招首弄姿,有时跳舞,现在则成了官方自拍照。

除非这只热狗能为Snap卖广告。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

Snapchat has made it easier for users to find friends through its new maps feature, but the company itself is having trouble finding formerly friendly faces on Wall Street.

In trading Tuesday, Snap's stock price plunged nearly 9% to as low as $15.50 after banking giant Morgan Stanley downgraded shares of the disappearing photo app company to the equivalent of "hold." That deepened losses for investors who bought into Snap's initial public offering back in March. Those investors had already lost money on their investment as of Monday when Snap's stock dipped below its $17 IPO price for the first time ever.

Morgan Stanley's downgrade is a particularly hard hit for the company as the bank was the lead underwriter for Snap's IPO, guiding the company through the process and helping determine its initial stock price. Typically, such underwriters become cheerleaders of the company after it officially goes public, authoring "buy" or "hold" recommendations. And Morgan Stanley was no exception.

Following Snap's IPO, Morgan Stanley gave Snap the equivalent of a "buy" rating and a 12-month target price of $28—one of the most bullish on Wall Street at the time.

But now, the bank has lowered its price target by 43% to $16 a share. That's well below Snap's IPO price. (By Tuesday afternoon, Snap stock had already fallen below Morgan Stanley's target.)

So why the change of heart? According to the note, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Brian Nowak are now less convinced of Snap's ability to grow. In fact, the analysts effectively refuted the main reasons why Snap's biggest champions believed in the company at all: its apparent scalability and unique platform.

"We have been wrong about Snap's ability to innovate and improve its ad product this year (improving scalability, targeting, measurability, etc.) and user monetization," Nowak wrote. "Snap's ad product is not evolving/improving as quickly as we expected and Instagram competition is increasing."

Recently, Snap investors have grown increasingly wary of Facebook-owned Instagram. In late June, Facebook announced that its Instagram Stories feature, which competes with Snapchat, had reached 250 million daily active users—50% higher than the 166 million daily active user base Snap reported in May.

"We believe Instagram has become more aggressive in competing for Snap's ad dollars," Nowak wrote.

As a result, Morgan Stanley expects Snap to reach revenue of $897 million this year—far lower than the $1 billion it once expected. Moreover, Morgan Stanley expects the company to reach just 182 million active users by the end of this year.

The Morgan Stanley note also comes just a day after another of Snap's IPO underwriters, Credit Suisse, lowered its target price on the company from $30 to $25, saying that Snap's stock price could fall later this month when Snap's lockup period begin to expire. That will allow many of Snap's IPO backers and insiders to start selling their shares in the company.

Still, Snap has a chance to wow investors with stronger earnings figures. It's possible the company is working behind closed doors on a project that could potentially unlock growth. As one user joked on Twitter:

imagine the Snapchat investors asking the CEO what he's got planned to stop the stock from plummeting & he pulls up this mf on a powerpoint pic.twitter.com/d6qenVQUtA

- jack wagner (@jackdwagner) July 10, 2017

 That hot dog is in fact an augmented reality feature that recently hit Snapchat. It bobs, it dances, and it's now an official meme.

Now if only the hot dog could sell ads for Snap.

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