Twitter shares to drop nearly 30% because expectations are too high: Nomura Instinet

Key Points
  • Nomura Instinet initiates coverage on Twitter shares with a reduce rating, predicting it will report earnings below expectations next year.
  • The firm's analyst cites the stock's nearly 80 percent rise year to date and the high Wall Street 2019 estimates for the company.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, May 1, 2017.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twitter’s stunning rally this year is due for a big pullback, according to Nomura Instinet.

The firm initiated coverage on the social media company’s shares with a reduce rating, predicting it will report earnings below expectations next year.

“We view Twitter as a stable and extremely valuable platform with long-term strategic value,” analyst Mark Kelley said in a note to clients Tuesday. “However, we see some downside risk to consensus estimates for 2019, particularly to the 1H monetization levels the Street is currently looking for. This, paired with the recent run and current valuation, leaves us expecting a reset to expectations and the stock.”

Twitter shares are down 2 percent Wednesday. The company’s shares are up 82.2 percent so far this year through Tuesday versus the S&P 500’s 4.5 percent gain.

Kelley started his price target for Twitter’s stock at $31, representing 29 percent downside to Tuesday’s close.

The analyst estimates Twitter will generate earnings per share of 82 cents in 2019 versus the Wall Street consensus of 85 cents.

“Our main divergence from the Street is our monetization level starting in 1Q19; after four quarters of annual declines, 1Q18 monetization saw outsized growth, with tougher comps that we do not believe are being taken into account,” he said.

On Friday after the market close the Washington Post reported Twitter was ramping up its efforts in closing fake accounts. The article stated about 70 million accounts were suspended in May and June, with a similar pace continuing in July. Shares of Twitter closed down 5.4 percent Monday.

Twitter's chief financial officer Ned Segal clarified in a tweet Monday "most accounts we remove are not included in our reported metrics as they have not been active on the platform for 30 days or more, or we catch them at sign up and they are never counted."

In another report on Wednesday, Evercore ISI raised its price target to $42 from $32 for Twitter shares, citing positive conversations on business trends from ad buyers during the second quarter. The firm reiterated its in line rating for the company’s stock due to its valuation.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.