With Quotient Stock, Worry About the Weak Moat, Not the Revenues

The stock of Quotient Technology (NYSE:QUOT) plunged on Wednesday following a pre-earnings report. The Mountain View, California-based digital media company lowered guidance on revenue for the fourth quarter. QUOT stock saw heavy selling in morning trading following the news.

The equity recovered some of its losses later in the day. Still, this becomes yet another disappointment in an equity that has struggled throughout its history. Given recent events, investors need to consider the history of this equity and its competitive situation before they think about a contrarian move into Quotient Technology stock.

Lower Guidance Hammered QUOT Stock

Shares of QUOT stock saw a massive selloff following the report. The company placed the previous range between $115 million and $120 million. Now, Quotient expects revenues in the $106.5 million to $107.5 million range. The company cited unexpected cuts in consumer spending as the reason for the shortfall.

This still represents revenue growth in the 20% range, an increase from last year. Nonetheless, QUOT fell by more than 18% at one point. Buyers returned to the stock in the final hours of trading, and QUOT stock ended up down by about 8.5%.

To be sure, QUOT faces financial challenges. It continues to lose money on a GAAP basis. Also, given its reporting history, the expected turn to profitability late this year could face delays.

Still, Quotient benefits from a balance sheet that appears stable. It held $329 million in cash and short-term investments as of the last quarter. It lost about $31 million over the previous four reported quarters. Hence, the company should meet its obligations long enough to reach profitability.

A Weak Moat Makes Quotient Stock Risky

Where I worry most is the fact the moat of QUOT amounts to little more than a puddle. It has become the Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) of free couponing. Yes, revenue growth remains robust. It also looks poised to post high profit-growth numbers.

However, the moat (if you want to call it that) remains its ownership of the coupons.com website. By virtue of that, it built a first-mover advantage and the needed business relationships with companies.

If a company comes along with a better digital couponing system, all revenue and profit forecasts could turn south. Peers such as Groupon, Cimpress (NASDAQ:CMPR), or in theory, any digital media company could attempt such a move.

The history of the stock has also appeared troubling. It launched an IPO in March 2014 with shares priced at $16 per share. It briefly spiked as high as $33 per share. By August of that year, it fell back below the IPO price. It has traded in a range since. Wednesday’s decline took QUOT stock to an intraday low of $9 share, a level not seen since early 2017.

The Bottom Line on QUOT Stock

Despite the latest setback, one can make a high-risk case for buying QUOT stock. However, given its stock history and a weak competitive moat, I would recommend staying away. Investors may have overreacted with the mass selloff of QUOT stock on Wednesday morning. Revenue growth continues to increase, and it appears poised to begin earning profits soon.

However, QUOT stock has remained range-bound since soon after its IPO. Furthermore, little exists to stop peers from competing directly with Quotient.

Admittedly, if it meets or even comes close to the expected numbers, it could generate the needed profits to finally break out of its range. Still, with the history of missed earnings, the range-bound stock and the weak moat, I would look elsewhere to invest.

As of this writing, Will Healy did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned stocks. You can follow Will on Twitter at @HealyWriting.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media, https://investorplace.com/2019/01/worry-weak-moat-revenues-quot-stock-nimg/.

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