Citi says this Brazilian payments stock can jump more than 40%
Brazilian digital payments company StoneCo could yield some big gains for investors, according to Citi. Analyst Gabriel Gusan upgraded the company to buy from neutral with a price target of $13 per share. That target represents 40% upside from the stock’s last closing price of $9.18 per share. He said the firm could get a boost as interest rates come down in Brazil. “Our Buy rating is backed by an interesting backdrop for STNE sentiment, with new management leading a possible restructuring ahead of interest rates cuts,” Gusan said. A Brazilian central bank survey last month showed economists expect rate cuts to start in November. Last week, the country’s central bank kept its benchmark rate at 13.75% despite pressure from President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government to ease borrowing costs . StoneCo shares are down more than 2% in 2023. The stock has gotten crushed the last two years. In 2022, it dropped 44% as growth and tech names languished. In 2021, StoneCo fell a whopping 79.9%. However, the analyst thinks the company is due for a turnaround. He noted that this year could see StoneCo turn toward profitability, “as client mix, prepayment repricing, scalation of the software business and credit product help boost bottom line and margins.” The firm’s main focus is serving digital payments solutions to small businesses and has roughly 400,000 clients, Gusan said. Still, Gusan said Stone Co. is a high risk play, with concerns over how long turning a profit could take as well as an “elevated execution risk for the company to reach our estimates of recovery.” — CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.