What To Watch In Pinterest's Earnings Report

Pinterest (PINS) is scheduled to report results of its fourth fiscal quarter after the market close on Thursday, February 4, with a conference call scheduled for 4:30 pm EDT. What to watch for:

1. GUIDANCE: In October, Pinterest forecast that Q4 revenue would grow around 60% year-over-year, a modest acceleration vs. the same period last year. At the time, the company said "We continue to navigate uncertainty given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and other factors. We're also operating in a more remote working environment while maintaining investments in the long-term strategic priorities of the company. We continue to evaluate our spending as the situation evolves."

Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald said that coming of a year of exceptionally strong outperformance in 2020 for Internet stocks, he expects another year of strong performance in 2021 as economic fundamentals improve on a combination of broadening vaccine distribution, gradual loosening of the second wave of quarantine restrictions, a likely third dose of stimulus in the U.S., and the increasing likelihood that U.S. government will remain divided enough to preclude U.S. tax increases until a recovery is on former footing.

2. POSITIVE AD INDUSTRY CHECKS: Baird analyst Colin Sebastian expects the company's positive momentum to extend into 2021. He increased estimates following "positive" Q4 ad industry checks. Sebastian also sees upside potential to first half of 2021 consensus estimates on easing growth comps. The checks indicate that Pinterest continues to shift from "experimental" budgets to "committed" budgets across a broader group of brand, direct response, and smaller advertisers, the analyst said.

3. 'VALUABLE NICHE': On January 20, Stifel analyst John Egbert initiated coverage of Pinterest with a Buy rating and $85 price target. Pinterest has "carved out a valuable niche in social media" that Egbert views as both sustainable and "potentially more broadly appealing over time," he told investors. He forecasts a +33% compound annual growth rate for Pinterest's revenue from 2020-2025 and thinks the company's user-generated content with low marginal costs should eventually lead to "robust" adjusted EBITDA margins at scale, Egbert said.

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