Sharp Sell-Off in Twilio Stock Wins Over Bullish Analyst

Morgan Stanley sees an "opportunity" in the recent heavy losses for Twilio shares

Sep 19, 2019 at 9:38 AM
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Cloud communications specialist Twilio Inc (NYSE:TWLO) is in the bullish spotlight today, after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to "overweight" from "equal weight." The brokerage firm also raised its price target on TWLO to $135 from $130, implying expected upside of about 20% to Wednesday's close at $112.55.

On the charts, TWLO stock sports a healthy year-to-date gain of 26% -- but on the other hand, the shares have taken a 25% haircut from their July 26 closing high at $149.95, thanks in part to recent, widespread weakness in cloud stocks. In the process of pulling back sharply from that all-time closing peak, Twilio broke below formerly reliable support at its 126-day and 180-day moving averages, the former of which has since switched roles to act as resistance.

However, Morgan Stanley thinks the stock's sharp correction is an opportunity. "We think the recent pullback misses that new applications growth can help extend the growth period for the name and help long term margin profile," wrote the brokerage firm in a note to clients, citing Twilio's "experienced management team ... strong platform and vision" as some of the drivers behind its bullish thesis.

Most analysts are already firmly planted in the bullish camp when it comes to TWLO. Ahead of today's upgrade, the equity had garnered 14 "strong buys" and two "buys," along with just two "holds" and zero "sells." So while the stock is up 3.6% at $116.65 in early trading, additional brokerage boosts may be few and far between in the near term.

Meanwhile, short sellers are deeply entrenched. Short interest on Twilio rose by nearly 26% in the past two reporting periods, and now accounts for 15.8% of the stock's float. Today's early jolt suggests some of these bears may be rattled -- but with TWLO still on the rocks, technically speaking, the shorts haven't lost control of this name just yet.



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