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Etsy shares surge double digits as Citi says to ‘buy’

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and others celebrate their IPO at the Nasdaq exchange, April 16, 2015.
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Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson and others celebrate their IPO at the Nasdaq exchange, April 16, 2015.

Shares of Etsy spiked nearly 18 percent in early trading Monday after Citi initiated coverage of the company with a "buy" rating.

Citi put a $14 price target on the stock, which closed at $10.06 Friday, expecting a share price return of more than 39 percent.

"Consensus revenue estimates are far too conservative," the note said. Citi is 3 percent and 6 percent above Wall Street consensus on revenues for 2016 and 2017 respectively, and is especially bullish on Etsy's paid "Seller Services" business.

"We expect Street estimates to reset higher throughout the year," the note said.

Although roughly half of sellers use other channels to market products, Citi analysts said there is "little evidence to suggest the hand-crafted category is a priority for any of the larger e-commerce platforms".

The Brooklyn-based online marketplace, which connects buyers and sellers to "unique goods," has built a well-established brand for "truly unique items," the note said. More than 90 percent of traffic is organic, meaning the company doesn't pay for it.

Citi also cited steady margin expansion to back their target price.

Etsy beat Wall Street earnings expectations in the first quarter this year, and outpaced its own sales growth guidance range but left full-year guidance unchanged. Etsy had 1.6 million active sellers and 25 million buyers last quarter, the company said in a statement.

Etsy is scheduled to announce second-quarter results after the bell on Aug. 2.

Shares of the company are up nearly more than 43 percent year to date but have fallen 43 percent year over year.