Square Inc. (SQ), the digital payment service controlled by Twitter Inc. (TWTR) co-founder Jack Dorsey, got its rating downgraded by Credit Suisse, which thinks all the upside is already baked into the stock.

Paul Condra, a Credit Suisse analyst, slashed his investment rating on shares to neutral from outperform but upped the price target to $25 from $20. In a research note to clients covered by the media, the analyst cited the run-up in shares this year for the downgrade. Square’s stock is up nearly 70% in 2017 recently trading at $23.56 a share. According to Condra, the payment company’s stock is fully valued, trading at 42 times 2018 EV/EBITDA. (See also: Dorsey Defends Dual CEO Role at Twitter, Square.)

"While we view Square as the most innovative provider of payment services in the small/micro in-store payments space, the last $5 move in the stock came much sooner than we'd expected, and we believe upside may be limited in the near term. We note the rising share price increases dilution potential, which currently subtracts about $2 (~8%) from our new TP, and implies a current valuation of 45x EV/EBITDA," he wrote. Square’s shares are also benefiting from an increase in tech stocks in general as well as expectations that mergers and acquisitions are going to play out in the industry.  


In late March speculation surged that Square and Twitter could merge after Dorsey told CNBC in an interview that there are synergies between the two. He stopped short of saying what that means on the M&A front. Dorsey said in the same interview he would do “whatever it takes” to make sure his two companies are successful. (See also: FT Asks: Does Twitter-Square Merger Make Sense?)

Helping shares of Square in 2017 has been a series of analyst upgrades starting back in November when Pacific Crest boosted the stock to overweight, indicating that the firm is positioned to experience a “series of positive fundamental surprises over the next year.” In particular, the analyst said payments and operating expense upside could work to drive profitability and cash flow. Earlier this year, the investment firm upped Square’s price target to $17 from $15. Meanwhile at the end of 2016, analysts at Deutsche Bank upgraded Square’s shares to buy from hold, and setting a $17 price target. Analysts applauded the payments firm’s product diversification, making itself a one-stop shop for small merchant clients. And most recently, an analyst at Needham initiated coverage on Square stock at buy with a $17 price target, calling it the “most complete and cohesive payments business software platform for small and midmarket merchants.”

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