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Lyft gets a sentiment boost as Wall Street gets bullish on its future

Javier E. David
Editor focused on markets and the economy

Lyft (^LYFT) which went public in March only to see its stock sink well below its initial price, may be primed for a buy, according to Wall Street analysts.

The stock, which got a boost of more than 4% pre-market, traded slightly high on the day above $61, after several major firms recommended the stock as a buy.

Stifel initiated coverage on the ridesharing company’s stock with a $68 price target, expecting that rider growth “has the potential to outperform expectations over the medium to long term.”

Separately, Credit Suisse also initiated coverage on Lyft, expecting the stock to rally as high as $95, with a 31% retracement from its IPO price, making it “the most attractive return profiles in our coverage.”

Amid high expectations for unicorn tech companies going public, Lyft has had a very bumpy ride. Demand for the company’s IPO sent the stock soaring to $88.60, but doubts about its future — and the competitive threat from rival Uber — saw it crater to as low as $57.66.

Like Uber, Lyft still hasn’t turned a profit on its business, despite the widespread use of ride sharing. Meanwhile, some investors are suing the company, accusing it of overstating its prospects ahead of its IPO.

“Although Lyft's deep losses will likely be difficult for some investors to look past, we expect rider/revenue growth and contribution margin expansion will be the near- to mid-term measures of Lyft's success as a business,” analysts at Stifel wrote.

“The key risks to our ‘Buy’ rating are the competitive dynamics between Lyft and Uber as well as the unproven nature of the ridesharing business model,” the firm added.

Credit Suisse said the rise of self-driving cars should boost prospects for ride-sharing companies like Lyft. The sector “is akin to any other online-enabled product vertical with the added benefit of being homogeneous and commoditized, which should catalyze a rapid path to adoption in our view.”

Javier David is an editor for Yahoo Finance.

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