Twitter shares could add to strong gains this year as the World Cup spurs engagement and continued strength in ad sales gives the social media company a revenue boost, an analyst at UBS said Thursday.
Eric Sheridan raised his price target on the stock to $52 from $36, implying 11.2 percent upside from Thursday's close of $46.76. Twitter's stock rose as much as 2.2 percent before closing down 2.1 percent.
Sheridan said the soccer World Cup is a "catalyst for the stock, both in terms of engagement growth and ad demand trends – such scaled global events have tended to have a positive impact on Twitter."
The World Cup — which is held every four years — kicked off Thursday in Russia and will continue until mid-July.
Other analysts also see Twitter benefiting from the tournament, which is considered by many to be the most important sporting event in the world. MKM Partners' Rob Sanderson reiterated his buy rating on Twitter earlier this month, noting improvements to the platform from the 2014 tournament mean "the World Cup can be a more meaningful driver for TWTR."
UBS' Sheridan also said industry data and ad checks point to further upside for Twitter. "Based on SMI, US agency spending continues to shift from TV to digital with online video and mobile being key beneficiaries. In addition, our broader ad checks have improved suggesting advertisers are returning to capture improved ROI," he said.
Twitter is one of the best-performing stocks this year, rising nearly 95 percent through Thursday's close. The stock has also more than doubled over the past six months.