PayPal upgraded by Stifel because of its addition of new financial services

Key Points
  • Stifel raises its rating to buy from hold for PayPal shares, citing the company's move to offer more financial services for its customers.
  • The firm is optimistic PayPal will grow rapidly due to the size of the global payments market.
Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal
Mark Neuling | CNBC

PayPal shares will rise as it adds new financial services for its customers, according to one Wall Street firm.

Stifel raised its rating to buy from hold for PayPal shares, citing the company's large new growth opportunities.

"PayPal is a leading global online payments platform that is evolving into a robust financial services ecosystem with an expanding value proposition for both merchants and consumers," analyst Scott Devitt said in a note to clients Thursday.

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"We believe PayPal is well-positioned to benefit from eCommerce growth and the digitization of payments and is broadening its leadership position through its global scale and controlling the end-to-end experience. PayPal is still in the early stages of its transformation from a button/online checkout company to a global payments platform with a sizable addressable market opportunity."

Devitt increased his price target to $99 from $82 for PayPal shares, representing 21 percent upside to Thursday's close.

He said the company believes its total market opportunity is about $110 trillion, which includes international payments, payments in e-commerce and physical stores. PayPal has less than 1 percent market share with an estimated 2018 payment volume of $581 billion, according to the analyst.

"PayPal has a sizable growth opportunity ahead. Despite the intensely competitive environment, the sheer size of the market should allow for multiple beneficiaries over the long term," he said. "The company's tools and services are enabling small and medium-sized merchants to more effectively compete and grow in the increasingly digital commerce landscape, and the continued roll-out of consumer-focused products ... allows the company to more effectively address the roughly two billion consumers globally that are currently underbanked."

PayPal shares are up 11 percent this year through Thursday versus the S&P 500's 2 percent return in the same time period.