Like many growth names, Palantir (NYSE:PLTR) stock saw explosive price action at the start of the year.
However, those explosive gains eventually fizzled out and PLTR stock pulled back significantly.
Shares bottomed in early May — again, like most growth stocks — falling 62% from its all-time high. Even now, the stock remains 41.5% below its all-time high from January.
Pessimistic statistics aside, the stock has enjoyed quite the rally. Palantir shares have put together two solid upside moves, although it has yet to take out its summer high. If it can, it could trigger an excellent 20% upside move.
Trading PLTR Stock
Palantir spiked off its low near $17 in May, closing the session around $20. It was a massive red-to-green rally that produced a bullish engulfing candle.
Even if we measure from the close of that session (blue arrow on the chart), PLTR stock generated a 37.5% gain up to its high of $27.50 on June 28.
From there, we saw another dip. Only this time, Palantir found support near $20, just as it had all throughout 2021 (with the exception of May).
Now rallying higher, the stock has methodically pushed through all of its major moving averages. While PLTR stock struggled with the $25 to $25.50 zone, shares eventually resolved higher. However, the stock topped out at $26.88 — shy of its high in June.
On the plus side, the recent pullback found support at the 21-day and 200-day moving averages.
What bulls want to see now is simple.
They’re looking for a push over this month’s high (at $26.88) and for a rotation over last quarter’s high of $27.50. That would give us a quarter-up rotation and open the door to $30. More specifically, it would put the gap-fill level in play at $31.34, up about 20% from current levels.
Not to be too optimistic, but if PLTR stock can clear $31.50, the 61.8% retracement near $34.50 could be in play.
On the downside, a break of the 200-day puts uptrend support in play (blue line), along with the 21-week and 50-day moving averages. Below those measures puts $20 back on the table.
(Short of the quarterly rotation over $27.50, it’s quite likely PLTR stock will set up with an inside quarter, with Q3 ending in a few weeks).
A Closer Look at Palantir
The good news about Palantir is that it has pretty solid and steady growth. It’s also profitable — albeit, not wildly. The bad news is, that the stock isn’t cheap.
Palantir is forecast to generate about $1.5 billion in sales this year and almost $2 billion in 2022. In 2023, estimates call for roughly $2.5 billion in revenue.
As far as growth rates go, it looks something like this: trailing revenue growth of 47.4%, 37.5% growth this year and 28.5% to 29.5% growth in each of the next two years.
Although we have declining growth going into 2022, it looks like it should level out just under 30% annually. That’s pretty darn solid.
Analysts expect earnings of 16 cents per share this year — down slightly vs. 2020 — and profit of 21 cents a share in 2022.
Now for the tough part. Palantir stock trades with a market capitalization of $51 billion. That puts it at 34 times this year’s sales estimate, 26.5 times next year’s expectations and more than 20 times 2023 revenue estimates.
That’s far from cheap unless the company can generate some meaningful bottom-line growth. If that’s the case, then we could see a rapid acceleration in the stock, as it will be easy to justify a long position in a company growing its revenue by 25%-plus a year with solid bottom-line growth.
Otherwise, we have to be aware of the risk that comes with this type of valuation.
The Bottom Line Is Tricky
The bottom line here is tricky. On the one hand, Palantir could prove to be an excellent buying opportunity for the long term. That’s especially true if it continues to add big contracts and gain subscription-style customers.
However, we’re talking about a stock trading at more than 34 times current-year revenue. We’ve got to see Palantir deliver (and then some) to justify that lofty premium. Otherwise, shares could head lower, or at the very least, stagnate until its business grows enough and brings that valuation down.
For investors that can incorporate the technicals, conservative bulls can be long over $25. Aggressive bulls can be long over $23. Below that and $20 or lower is possible.
On the date of publication, Bret Kenwell did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.