Instagram Eating into Snapchat Market Share: Evercore

Snap Inc. (SNAP) investors should let go of any hope they have for a comeback, according to one team of bulls on the Street who cut their price target on shares of the parent company of social media platform Snapchat. 

In a note to clients on Thursday, Evercore ISI analyst Anthony DiClemente wrote that he expects shares to decline another 15% from Wednesday close to $7 per share, down from his previous forecast of $9. The Venice, Calif.-based company hit the public market in March 2017 at an initial public offering (IPO) price of $17 per share. Trading down over 5% on Thursday morning at $7.82, the stock has lost 46.5% of its value in 2018, compared to the S&P 500's 8.6% gain over the same period. 

(See also: Can Amazon Help Snap Beat Instagram?)

Instagram Eating into Snap Market Share

According to DiClemente, Facebook Inc.'s (FB) Instagram is "irreversibly reducing" Snap's ability to deliver on long-term expectations. Instagram's rival "Stories" platform, seen as an imitation of Snap's original 24-hour video and photo sharing feature, now boasts twice the number of users and is growing six times faster than Snapchat. Snapchat engagement plunged 7% over the last year, making the platform the lowest-ranking in a survey of ad buyers and mounting fears that Snap may be unable to boost its top line with ad dollars or successfully diversify its business with new revenue streams.

"Given the lack of positive catalysts in the face of declining users and decelerating revenue growth, not to mention management turnover ahead of the seasonally critical 4Q, we lower our Target Price," wrote Evercore. 

The bearish report echoed sentiment from analysts at Citi Research, who also lowered their price target on Wednesday to $7, citing heightened competitive pressure. Analyst Mark May suggested that the firm may be forced to slash operating expenses and raise capital over the next few years if trends do not improve. 

Not all are so bearish. Last month, analysts at Wedbush upgraded shares of the social media company to Outperform with a new $12.25 price target, citing a handful of executive changes as a positive driver for the company. 

(For more, see also: Snap, At Record Lows, to Outperform on Recent Executive Hires: Wedbush.)

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