Coupang Posts a Narrower Loss. The Stock Soars as It Gets an Upgrade to Buy.

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A Coupang employee holds packages in front of an apartment building in Bucheon, South Korea.

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SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

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Coupang climbed Thursday after the Korean e-commerce company reported a first-quarter loss narrower than analysts’ expectations and the stock received an upgrade from Citi.

Coupang (ticker: CPNG) posted a loss of 12 cents a share for the first quarter, narrower than Wall Street estimates that called for a loss of 28 cents, according to FactSet. Revenue in the quarter was $5.1 billion, which was below analysts’ expectations of $5.2 billion but still a company record.

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The company also reported a record gross profit for the first quarter of $1.04 billion, an increase from $733 million in the same period of 2021. Chief Financial Officer Gaurav Anand said in a press release that record gross profit and gross profit margins helped the company’s product commerce segment to achieve profitability in the first quarter.

Bom Kim, chief executive, told investors in a conference call that while Coupang saw “some headwinds from inflation and supply-chain disruptions in the past quarter, our results were net positive due to improvements around process and technology, utilization of capacity, supply chain organization, and continued scaling of advertising among other areas.”

Citi analyst John Yu upgraded his rating on the stock to Buy from Neutral, saying he sees “higher visibility in near-term profit generation.”

He noted how the company “shifted gear to profitability” by raising monthly subscription fee and commission structure improvements in Coupang Eats.

“We positively view the profit-centered strategy especially under the current rising interest rates environment,” Yu wrote in a research note. The analyst lowered his price target of Coupang to $15 from $29.

Shares of the e-commerce platform were 31.7% higher on Thursday to $12.73. The stock has fallen 56% in 2022.

Write to Angela Palumbo at [email protected]


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