When shares of Uber Technologies (NYSE: UBER) and Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) moved higher a week ago, bucking the general market malaise, it seemed as if the two recently public ridesharing giants would be moving in lockstep. With the S&P 500 moving lower again this week, it was easy to wonder if the market-defying trend would repeat itself.
Lyft shares did move nicely higher, up 6.2% for the week. After declining in five of its first six full weeks of trading, Lyft has rattled off back-to-back weeks of gains, soaring nearly 12% higher in the process. It was a different story with Uber. The top dog in this booming niche actually moved lower alongside the market, though its dip of less than 1% was better than the S&P 500's 1.2% slide for the week.
Image source: Lyft.
Learning to drive again
Uber and Lyft remain broken IPOs. Uber has to rise a little more than 8% to get back to its starting line of $45, and Lyft would have to soar better than 26% to get back to its late March debutante price of $72. However, after back-to-back weeks in which each stock beat the market, it's at least fair to argue that momentum is turning.
It was a slow week for Uber. There were three analyst initiations, and only one of them truly stood out. Susquehanna started Uber at neutral with a $42 price target, essentially where it was at the start of the week. Consumer Edge also checked in with a ho-hum "equal weight" rating. The only bullish initiation was New Street with a $50 price goal, suggesting that Uber will claw its way out of being a broken IPO.
The three initiations still matter. There will be more than two dozen underwriters introducing coverage in less than two weeks. These are the firms that helped take Uber public. They have to wait at least 25 days before kicking off their ratings, and they will be biased. They unloaded more than $8 billion in Uber shares to their clients at $45, so there's no denying where most of them will land if the stock is still below its debut price in 10 days. The three Wall Street pros that chimed in earlier in the week may have been primarily unimpressed by Uber, but they have no ax to grind.
Lyft only had one notable analyst move, but it was a pretty big one. Brent Thill at Jefferies reiterated his buy rating after meeting with Lyft management. He is confident that Lyft is on an eventual path to profitability, and he's sticking to his earlier $90 price target, which is one the highest marks among his peers.
Uber and Lyft still have a lot to prove, but it seems as if the pessimism bottomed out for both stocks shortly after the former's IPO initially buckled. Neither stock is exactly a market darling these days, but they're no longer the running jokes they were earlier this month.
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