Why Did Uber (UBER) Sell Off After Its Earnings Beat?

In Monday evening’s earnings report, rideshare company Uber Technologies (UBER) beat on both the top line and the bottom line. Specifically, revenues rang in at $3.8 billion for the third quarter, whereas Wall Street analysts had expected $3.6 billion, and net losses came in at -$0.68 per share versus -$0.82 expected.

So why is UBER stock down 9% after the report?

When you dig into Uber’s news, you’ll start to see what spooked Wall Street. But I have my own reasons for staying away from UBER at this time. Let’s take a look, because both are worth your consideration before taking any action on this stock.

Much of the news coverage centered around one number: $1.2 billion. That’s the amount of Uber’s total losses in the third quarter. A billion dollars is a major psychological level, and it tends to get people’s attention – at a time when Uber employees will soon be free to sell their shares. (The IPO lockup expires Wednesday.) For a $48 billion stock, the impact of $20 billion more on the sell side would be pretty serious.

The latest results for Uber Eats were also closely watched. While Uber’s meal ordering and delivery business is much smaller than its ride-sharing business, it is growing much faster. But Uber Eats is not yet profitable – and, in the third quarter, the net loss nearly doubled. Losses for Uber Eats totaled $316 million in the third quarter, versus $189 million in the year-ago quarter.

That’s a major drag on UBER’s bottom line. In fact, the company would have reached overall profitability in the third quarter…if the earnings from Rides were not accompanied by net losses from all its other segments. Those include Uber Eats, Freight, “Other Bets” (like scooters), and its Advanced Technology Group, which is working on autonomous “robo-taxis.”

This speaks to my main concern with UBER stock. Right now, Uber CEO is targeting 2021 as the year when his company will finally become profitable. But, with Uber digging billion-dollar holes, some analysts aren’t expecting this milestone until 2025!

Bulls may argue that this is par for the course for a new upstart like UBER. But for a counterpoint, I would point them to one of Uber’s peers in the “gig economy”: Etsy (ETSY).

Etsy is not much older than Uber, but it’s been profitable since June 2017. In the third quarter, Etsy was $14.8 million in the green, which translated to $0.12 earnings per share. That was right in line with Wall Street expectations and included a nice revenue beat: $197.9 million vs. $193.5 million expected.

Unlike Uber, Etsy’s growth initiatives are adding to the bottom line, rather than subtracting from it. This summer, Etsy acquired Reverb, another online marketplace – but one focused on musical instruments and gear, rather than handmade goods. Already, Reverb has been such a boon that Etsy mentioned it in raising its 2019 guidance. The company now expects revenue between $809 million and $815 million, or 34% to 35% annual revenue growth. That’s up from previous estimates for 32% to 34% annual revenue growth.

With growth like that, ETSY is a mainstay on my Breakthrough Stocks Buy List. I’m about to release my Top 5 Stocks this Friday, in my Breakthrough Stocks Monthly Issue. So, click here for a free glimpse at my strategy and get in on the action.

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