Skeptical analyst jumps on the PayPal bandwagon

  • Cowen analyst George Mihalos says he's "come to the party well after the candles have been blown out."
  • He upgrades PayPal to outperform from market perform and hikes his price target on the shares to $88 from $67.
Dan Schulman
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Dan Schulman

Research firm Cowen has decided to join the party at PayPal.

Analyst George Mihalos upgraded the stock on Tuesday to outperform from market perform and hiked his price target on the shares to $88 from $67. The new price target represents 11 percent upside.

In a note to clients, Mihalos said he recognizes he has "come to the party well after the candles have been blown out."

In early trading Tuesday, PayPal was flat. Its shares skyrocketed 86.5 percent in 2017 and are up 7.4 percent this year as of Monday's close. The stock easily outperformed the S&P 500 last year — which rose 19.4 percent in 2017 — and the S&P technology sector, which climbed nearly 37 percent.

"While admittedly the shares of PYPL are far from a bargain, we believe most of the bear theses for PYPL have not and will not play out – including margin compression, eBay renewal concerns and take-rate collapse – while the company's growth trajectory remains among the most compelling in the Payments space," Mihalos said.