June 3, 2019 / 7:05 PM / 14 days ago

Deluge of analyst reports on Uber expected after IPO quiet period

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - With the quiet period related to Uber Technologies disastrous IPO last month coming to an end, investors can expect a deluge of analyst research initiations on the ride-hailing service.

FILE PHOTO: Logo of the Uber is seen on a smartphone screen as a picture of stock exchange graph is displayed on a computer screen in this illustration picture, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America are among roughly two dozen Wall Street banks that underwrote the firm’s stock market debut, and they have been required by industry practice to wait until June 4 to launch analyst coverage.

Shares of Uber, which is losing billions of dollars a year, are down 9% from the price set in its May 9 initial public offering - the most hotly anticipated public listing since Facebook’s in 2012. The stock was up 0.7% at mid-day on Monday.

About $7 billion of Uber’s stock market value has evaporated since the IPO, making it a major disappointment for the company, its shareholders and underwriters.

So far, three analysts from banks uninvolved in Uber’s IPO recommend buying the stock, while five have neutral ratings and none recommend selling, according to Refinitiv data.

On average, those analysts expect Uber to lose $4.4 billion in 2019, equivalent to $3.49 per share, according to Refinitiv. At the same time, they expect Uber’s revenue to climb 24% this year to $14 billion.

After Uber reported a quarterly loss of $1 billion last Thursday, Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell upgraded his rating to “overweight” from “neutral,” pointing in his research note to “an increasingly benign competitive environment in ride-hailing and more attractive stock valuation.”

Uber was the biggest of a group of Silicon Valley startups that have gone public this year against the backdrop of a global stock market sell-off sparked by renewed trade tensions between the United States and China. The San Francisco-based company also faces increased regulation in several countries and fights with its drivers over wages.

While bulls see Uber eventually launching fleets of self-driving cars and compare it to Amazon’s ability to spread into new markets, bears are focused on the company’s billions of dollars in losses and the threat of increased competition.

Uber and smaller rival Lyft, which is also losing money, are each trading at five times analysts’ expected 2019 sales. That suggests investors value them similarly, even as many Uber enthusiasts argue the larger company deserves a premium because of its global dominance in ride-sharing and additional businesses, including Uber Eats.

(This story has been refiled to add percent symbol to share decline since IPO in third paragraph).

Reporting by Noel Randewich, additional reporting by Lance Tupper in New York; editing by Dan Grebler

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