Upwork Posts Better-Than-Expected 4Q Results; Shares Pop 18.7% After-Hours

Upwork Inc shares were up by 18.7% in extended market trading on Feb. 23 after the freelancing platform reported 4Q earnings per share (EPS) of $0.06, while analysts were expecting a loss per share of $0.05. Revenues for the fourth quarter came in at $106.2 million, reflecting a rise of 32% year-on-year and coming in ahead of the consensus estimates of $97.34 million.

Upwork’s (UPWK) President and CEO Hayden Brown said, “2020 was a watershed year for Upwork. In the fourth quarter, we achieved our highest year-over-year growth since going public. Nearly a year into the pandemic, organizations are embracing remote work to unleash the potential of a global workforce of independent talent that gives them the agility, skills and efficiency they need. Our results demonstrate that we are optimally positioned to capture the exciting opportunity ahead by serving customers as the world’s work marketplace.”

The rise in revenues in 4Q was fueled by the 34% year-on-year growth in revenues for the company’s marketplace business. The marketplace segment had revenues of $96.9 million in 4Q and made up 91.3% of UPWK’s total revenues.

In the first quarter of FY21, UPWK expects revenues to be in the range of $107 million to $109 million and adjusted EBITDA to be between $2 million to $3 million. For FY21, UPWK has forecasted revenue of between $460 million to $470 million and adjusted EBITDA in the range of $12 million to $16 million. (See Upwork stock analysis on TipRanks)

On Feb. 16, BTIG analyst Marvin Fong raised the price target from $42 to $68 and reiterated a Buy rating on the stock. Fong cited his proprietary tracking tool, which indicated that freelancing work remains in a “powerful uptrend.”

The analyst has also observed “more bullish data” amid a “notable acceleration” in job listings over the past four weeks, and he believes that this acceleration is “above seasonality,” which in turn positioned Upwork to guide above his 1Q estimates.

The rest of the Street is bullish on the stock with a Strong Buy consensus rating. That’s based on 3 Buys and 1 Hold. The average analyst price target of $49.75 implies 3.5% downside potential to current levels.

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