Editor's Note

Some companies cannot maintain a trend and continually cycle between boom and bust. SNAP is one of those companies. Every cycle of gains is sold and earnings always disappoint.

I really did not want to recommend a position this weekend. I expect a gap open on Tuesday and it could be up or down. There is so much uncertainty that anything is possible. The most likely direction is lower. SNAP does not do well even in a bullish market and with earnings in mid January, investors should be running to the sidelines. A down market may even help this position.



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SNAP - Snap Inc - Company Profile

Snap Inc. operates as a camera company. It offers Snapchat, a camera application that helps people to communicate through short videos and images. The company also provides a suite of content tools for partners to build, edit, and publish snaps and attachments based on editorial content; and Spectacles, which are sunglasses that capture video from a human perspective. The company was formerly known as Snapchat, Inc. and changed its name to Snap Inc. in September 2016. Snap Inc. was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Venice, California. Company description from FinViz.com.

There is no magic to this position. Shares are declining ahead of their Jan 23rd earnings. The company has failed to increase users in a meaningful way. Facebook is killing them with their similar product. CNN recently cancelled their daily Snapchat News show called "The Update" because it was not making any money. Advertisers had abandoned the feature. Everything is negative for SNAP's outlook.

Evercore ISI rated them an underperform, the equivalent of a sell rating, with a price target of $7 on December 6th. SNAP shares are already about 50% below their post IPO peak and they were trading at $15 at the open on Friday. The Evercore rating is looking for another 50% decline.

Over the last 12 months the company had revenue of $705 million but lost a whopping $3.2 billion when stock grants were included. If you back out the onetime expenses they still lost $818 million on revenue of $705 million. They cannot continue doing this. You cannot operate at a 100% loss forever.

The Facebook program Instagram copied most of the SnapChat features and has 700 million daily active users. SnapChat only had 178 million in Q3 and that number had only risen 3% for the quarter. SNAP is four times more expensive than Twitter on a price to sales ratio and even Twitter is struggling to succeed.

SNAP has a market cap of $13 billion and it is a failing company. That market cap is going to shrink as the losses continue to pile up. Earnings are Jan 23rd and the odds are very good they will miss estimates again.

Sell short SNAP shares, currently $14.61, initial stop loss $15.25.
Alternate position: Buy Feb $14 put, currently 88 cents, initial stop loss $15.65.



Entry disclaimer: To avoid an unfavorable entry point, we will not launch a new play if the stock gaps more than $1.00 at the market open.