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Snap Stock: Next Stop $20?

Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool

One of the more vocal Snap (NYSE: SNAP) bulls is feeling a little more upbeat this week. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield is boosting his price target on Snapchat's parent company from $15 to a Street-high $20, giving the shares a beefy 48% of upside from Monday's close.

Greenfield is buying into the surprising turnaround at Snap, arguing that third-party apps, fresh filters buzz, new mobile gaming functionality, and the long-overdue rebuild of its Android platform are meaningfully improving Snapchat's appeal with once-jaded users. He also points out that staff morale is also on the upswing, a welcome shift for a company that was shedding executives and other employees through 2018.

Snapchat ghost mural at Snap offices.

Image source: Snap Inc.

Every good turn deserves another

It's not just Snap staging a dramatic turnaround in recent months. Just nine months ago, Greenfield was slapping a Street-low $5 price target on the stock. He saw the company burning through its cash at a time when Instagram was eating its lunch.

He felt a bit less pessimistic in December when he upgraded the shares from sell to neutral, jacking that rating up to a buy in March. Greenfield's quarterly moves are impressive when strung together. His price target for Snap stock has now quadrupled over the past nine months. He went from the lowest price goal among his peers to what is now the highest. He has also been spot-on with his bullishness.

Snap has been one of this year's hottest stocks, up 146% so far in 2019. It is the country's largest company -- by market cap -- to have more than doubled this year (the two larger stateside-exchange-listed entities are based out of Canada and Latin America).

Revenue rose 39% in its latest quarter, but that's not a surprise. Snap has done a good job of increasing its top line even when its user base was migrating elsewhere, improving the ad monetization of its traffic. The real head turner in its first quarter was that Snapchat experienced a sequential growth in users for the first time in more than a year.

Reaching an audience of 190 million daily active users matters more now than it did when that metric was inching the wrong way. With all of the growth initiatives in play, at Snapchat, there's general investor excitement that a growing audience will get to enjoy them.

Bears can turn bullish. Laggards can transform into leaders. Greenfield and Snap are proof that turnarounds happen, with huge paydays for investors paying attention.

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Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.