In this current environment, buying Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) above the psychological threshold of $40 seems risky. The last time Twitter stock was so consistently elevated was back in June of last year. During that period, TWTR was angling to break into $50 but it failed quite spectacularly.
Another point to consider is what my InvestorPlace colleague Will Ashworth recently stated. Comparing Twitter to Square (NYSE:SQ), Ashworth declared that the latter was the better name. One of the reasons is that Square is fundamentally more useful and valuable than Twitter.
As Ashworth points out, SQ has introduced many innovations, one of which is Square Terminal. He wrote last month:
At the Canadian launch of Square Terminal, Dorogusker, Square’s head of hardware, told reporters that the portable terminal provides small- and medium-sized businesses with the ability to manage inventory, send invoices, record deposits, manage payment histories, and generate reports about their companies…The product eliminates the need for shopkeepers to deploy a slew of iPads, smartphones and tablets, to successfully operate their businesses.
Plus, TWTR stock is just a social media-based investment. In that space, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is king, and by a very wide margin.
Having said that, Twitter stock has some surprising catalysts that could help support shares in a recession. Here are three reasons why:
President Trump Loves Twitter
There’s an old saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity and Twitter is testing that thesis. As we all know, President Trump loves using the social media platform. Perhaps it suits his personality. Perhaps because he’s a former reality TV star, he’s a master of the soundbite.
Of course, it’s difficult to quantify the impact the executive office has had on Twitter, and some experts have stated Trump imposes a negative influence on the company because of issues like bullying and harassment.
Still, I’m going to argue that overall, this administration has provided a net positive impact on Twitter stock. Primarily, every time Trump makes a groundbreaking announcement or posts a controversial statement, it’s almost always done through Twitter. When various media outlets report on the subject, the company gets free advertising.
Further, Twitter caters to a younger audience, ultimately helping the company’s revenue-generation efforts. Since late last year, social media has transitioned into the leading news source, besting newspapers. And Trump’s tweets of consciousness inspire other politicians to respond. In many ways, Twitter is a real-time, dynamic news source. That very well might benefit Twitter stock.
Political Rancor Is Good for Twitter Stock
Recently, Oppenheimer analysts upgraded media behemoth Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Although Comcast suffers under the broader framework of cord cutting, CMCSA has moved up significantly this year.
Interestingly, one of the reasons analysts there are so optimistic is the upcoming 2020 elections. The last presidential election was a golden moment for cable TV, lifting the dying traditional news media sector. With an even more contentious political environment, cable providers like Comcast should benefit.
I don’t really see it that way. According to the Pew Research Center, a significant percentage (22%) of the under-50 crowd get their news from social media. Moreover, a whopping 36% of the under-30 folks get their news from sources like Twitter. Right there, you have a good reason to consider Twitter stock: the underlying company will eventually replace other sources (TV, radio, and print) for news distribution.
If that doesn’t convince you to think about TWTR stock, also note millennials’ political engagement behaviors. Nobody in this group is writing to their Congressional representatives. Instead, they’re on Twitter.
This isn’t just a nice little statistic. Advertisers know these trends firsthand and are willing to pay big bucks for this lucrative exposure. While we’ll see many winners come November 2020, one of the biggest could be Twitter stock.
Twitter Is More Open Than Facebook
One common criticism against TWTR stock is that Twitter appears a permanent number two to Facebook. As everyone knows, Facebook has well over two billion active users. On the other hand, Twitter has somewhere around 320 million active users. It’s not even close.
But that’s not where the argument ends, at least for this comparison. In recent years, Facebook has incurred multiple scandals involving privacy violations. As a result, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has attempted to shift his organization into a more privacy-friendly platform.
I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad move for Facebook. But compared to Twitter, this shift doesn’t lend itself well to distributing political opinions. In contrast, Twitter has always encouraged openness and engagement within reason. Thus, in the 2020 elections, we should find more robust debate occurring on Twitter than on other social media networks.
Coming full circle, I think that’s beneficial to Twitter, and not just from the eyeball count. More young people have used social media in politically meaningful ways than any other generation. And it’s young people whom advertisers most wish to target.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.