Etsy shares ride high on bullish bank outlooks

The bulls are betting on an ex-unicorn from Brooklyn.

Etsy ended higher Friday on the Nasdaq, as shares of the Brooklyn-based company wrap up a week that saw two bullish calls by investment banks.

RBC Capital Markets upgraded Etsy Thursday to outperform, from market perform, pinning its optimism on new initiatives at the e-commerce website that involve free shipping, a new ad platform and Etsy’s acquisition of music gear marketplace Reverb.

“Over the past two months, Etsy has announced three initiatives we believe could have a mid-to-long-term positive impact on Etsy’s business and upside” to Wall Street’s estimates for next year and 2021, wrote Shweta Khajuria and Mark Mahaney, both analysts at RBC Capital Markets, in a research note.

In other words, they wrote, “Etsy is becoming more special.”

In July, Etsy announced it will help sellers guarantee free shipping on orders of more than $35, and later acquired Reverb for $275 million. In the third quarter, the company launched Etsy Ads, a new tool for sellers, which the analysts expect will boost revenue.

Khajuria and Mahaney also raised Etsy’s price-target by $5, to $68 per share.

Also on Thursday, another investment bank that was already bullish on Etsy further raised its expectations after Etsy disclosed new information relating to Reverb, according to Barron’s.

The analyst, Marvin Fong from BTIG, reiterated his buy rating and raised Etsy’s price target to $79, noting that new numbers from Etsy may make the company’s acquisition “look like a smart move,” according to the financial paper.

Wall Street, however, also knows that Etsy faces competition from many corners of the retail world, from other e-commerce companies to traditional and specialty retailers, many of which, noted RBC Capital Markets, “are better capitalized.”

Etsy shares closed Friday at $60.41, some 10% higher than its opening price Monday, outperforming the major indexes for the week.

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