“From a stock perspective, if Uber breaks $35, that is where it starts to get even more white knuckles,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a phone interview. “Right now the bears are winning, and there is nothing to stop these stocks from moving down, especially in a risk-off environment,” the analyst added, noting the weakness in ride-sharing peer Lyft Inc., which is also down as much as 7.3%.
While there are plenty of skeptics when it comes to the ride-hailing and ride-sharing economy, the broader market sell-off amid escalating trade tensions between U.S. and China is also weighing further on the valuation of the two companies. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told staff on Monday that it was “another tough day in the market,” and warned of a weak showing.
“Uber and Lyft are caught in a perfect storm of China-trade related market choppiness, combined with worries around no profitability in sight, and a valuation knife-fight between the bulls and the bears,” Wedbush’s Ives said, noting that Uber’s IPO was initially expected to be a positive catalyst for Lyft. “Once it ultimately became the opposite, it became a field day for the shorts,” he said.
The staggering proportion of bearish bets in Lyft has already become a cause of concern for investors. The stock currently has nearly 62% of its free float held short, according to S3 Partners.
Falling to $35 would mean a more than 22% discount to Uber’s IPO price of $45. The stock was seeing heavy trading on its second session as a public company. According to Bloomberg data, the total value of Uber shares traded on Monday was $2.8 billion, surpassed only by behemoths such as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.