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Ouch! Why SOFI Stock Short-Sellers Will Have a Hard Landing.

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  • SoFi Technologies (SOFI) got a surprising upgrade from Morgan Stanley analysts.
  • However, it’s crucial that SoFi Technologies achieve GAAP profitability in the current quarter. 
  • Investors might try a moderately sized share position in SOFI stock.
SOFI stock - Ouch! Why SOFI Stock Short-Sellers Will Have a Hard Landing.

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Once considered just a personal finance app, SoFi Technologies (NASDAQ:SOFI) is now a legitimate, chartered bank that poses a real threat to traditional banking institutions. Yet, even if big banks aren’t necessarily fans of SoFi Technologies, at least one mega-bank analyst group had something positive to say about the company. Therefore, the skeptics and short-sellers definitely ought to reconsider their positions in SOFI stock.

SoFi Technologies has at least one tailwind that cannot be denied. Specifically, the pause on required repayments of federal student loans has ended. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve may be finished raising interest rates. Without a doubt, more accommodative monetary policy would promote lending and borrowing activity, and this should benefit SoFi Technologies.

Granted, there is an issue with SoFi Technologies which I have previously mentioned, and this still needs to be addressed. Overall, however, SOFI stock is very likely to reward the buyers and punish the short-sellers over the coming months.

A Problem for SOFI Stock Investors to Consider

The main issue with SoFi Technologies has to do with the company’s bottom-line results from 2023’s third quarter. The company reported a quarterly adjusted earnings loss of 3 cents per share, which isn’t terrible. However, SoFi Technologies’ GAAP-measured net earnings loss totaled $266.7 million, widening considerably from $74.2 million in the year-earlier quarter.

In other words, SoFi Technologies’ financial aren’t perfect, and the company still has a lot of work to do. On the other hand, at least we can say that SoFi Technologies CEO Anthony Noto is confident. He declared that SoFi is “well on track for GAAP profitability for the overall company by Q4 and in the years that follow.”

Echoing this forecast, SoFi Technologies Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Christopher Lapointe assured, “We remain committed to achieving GAAP net income profitability in Q4 2023.” Perhaps this isn’t just a pipe dream.

In the third quarter, SoFi Technologies grew its total deposits 23% quarter over quarter to $15.7 billion. Not only that, but SoFi’s “member” (i.e., customer) count increased by more than 717,000 to over 6.9 million. So, if SoFi Technologies can parlay its army of customers into robust fourth-quarter sales and income, then GAAP profitability may actually be attainable.

A Competitor Gives Kudos to SoFi Technologies

Clearly, SoFi Technologies is demonstrating improvement in key areas. Consequently, even a group of analysts from a competing, traditional bank felt compelled to give SoFi Technologies a virtual pat on the back.

Here’s the scoop. Morgan Stanley analysts upgraded SOFI stock from “underweight” to “equal weight,” after having downgraded it to “underweight” in July. I suspect that the analysts were reluctant to publish this upgrade.

Yet, the Morgan Stanley analysts can’t reasonably deny that SoFi Technologies is on the right track after the company’s total deposits more than tripled. Plus, SoFi Technologies just partnered with financial heavyweight BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) on a $375 million personal loan securitization deal.

While the Morgan Stanley analysts’ commentary wasn’t overwhelmingly bullish, it was at least somewhat positive. First, they perceived a “more balanced risk-reward skew” now that SoFi shares traded closer to their $7 price target. In addition, the Morgan Stanley analysts “walked away from 3Q’s results incrementally more positive on the near-term outlook into 2024.”

They also offered a somewhat positive remark about SoFi Technologies’ non-lending segments being “set to reaccelerate into 2024 as Lending revenues slow.” This doesn’t mean the Morgan Stanley analysts are suddenly SoFi’s number-one fans, of course. Nonetheless, their somewhat complimentary comments are certainly worth noting.

SOFI Stock: Stay Invested, But Watch It Closely

Going forward, SoFi Technologies needs to prove that it can become GAAP profitable, not just with executive talk but with the numbers. Until that’s demonstrated, there’s no need to take any large share positions in SoFi Technologies.

At the same time, it would be foolish to bet against SoFi Technologies now. The company’s growth and improvement are undeniable. You might even see more mega-bank analysts publish positive remarks about SoFi Technologies soon. Therefore, I’m bullish overall on SOFI stock and feel it’s appropriate for a small share position.

On the date of publication, David Moadel 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.

David Moadel has provided compelling content – and crossed the occasional line – on behalf of Motley Fool, Crush the Street, Market Realist, TalkMarkets, TipRanks, Benzinga, and (of course) InvestorPlace.com. He also serves as the chief analyst and market researcher for Portfolio Wealth Global and hosts the popular financial YouTube channel Looking at the Markets.


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