Stocks to sell

With so Much Working Against it, Avoid PayPal

Falling below $100 per share, PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) is back at price levels not seen since March 2020. In other words, PYPL stock has given back its pandemic era gains.

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You may think that this is an overreaction. That the markets are pricing in external uncertainties, along with some company-specific issues, too much into the fintech firm’s shares. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Its epic drop from over $300 to around $98 per share was perfectly justified.

Worse yet, it may have more room to fall before it finally bottoms out. The issues that sparked its price decline starting last summer are still in play. Added to them now are new challenges that are only starting to take shape. Combined, both could affect its operating performance. In turn, this puts more pressure on shares.

In short, there is not much working in its favor right now. Going contrarian on it now means high-risk for a questionable reward. Looking to go against the grain? Look elsewhere.

New Risks Have Emerged for PYPL Stock

Investors who may have believed that PayPal would start bouncing back after its horrendous earnings report and subsequent sell-off so far have been disappointed. Yes, in the case of its slide since the earnings report, most of this drop is due to the market’s overall decline. In turn, there are now surging energy and other commodity prices on the heels of sanctions against Russia.

Yet, besides compelling market participants to seek out safe harbors, what is playing out today in Eastern Europe is and will continue to affect the company’s operating performance. In turn, this will negatively impact the price of PYPL stock.

Directly, the company is seeing a hit from the Russia sanctions. Albeit, it is a very small one. Even so, given how it has been falling short of expectations lately, it has little room for error. Indirectly, the sanctions add fuel to the fire of today’s high rates of inflation. As the price of essential goods like energy, food, and housing shoot up, household discretionary spending could take a serious hit.

This could impact the demand for PayPal’s services. Again, this would whittle away at its chances to deliver moderate levels of revenue and earnings growth this year. Depending on how the macro situation changes, management may end up having to further walk back expectations for the coming quarters and even for the full year.

Atop Existing Issues, More Downside Ahead

The risks discussed above are important to keep in mind when it comes to PYPL stock. But don’t forget the many issues that have hurt its performance since July.

First, the de facto end to the pandemic played its part. With much of the world learning to live with the virus, PayPal has lost a tremendous tailwind that has been central to its growth over the past two years. A “return to normal” meant a slowdown in e-commerce growth, which is bad news for its payment processing business.

Second is the end of its relationship with eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). An official dropping of the company as its former parent’s payments provider was anticipated and years in the making. Yet, the loss of this legacy line of business means a greater need for its relatively newer units to pick up the slack. For instance, the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo. However, Venmo’s growth is also slowing down, to some extent due to growing competition.

Third, the popularity of cryptocurrencies may have peaked last November. Rising interest rates plus a growing push for regulation may limit crypto’s ability to bounce back. Although it hasn’t embraced this area as strongly as its main rival in the fintech space, PayPal was looking to it as something that could help boost growth over the next few years.

With its high double-digit percentage decline, you can argue the market has largely accounted for these issues. Even so, as they continue, expect them to impact its ability to make any sort of recovery.

The Takeaway With PYPL Stock

Currently earning an “F” rating in my Portfolio Grader, existing and emerging challenges will continue to hurt PayPal’s performance. This makes me skeptical that its trip back below $100 per share will be a brief one.

Yes, in the weeks ahead, we may see it make a “dead cat bounce,” depending on how the market responds to the ongoing geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe or this month’s initial rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Months down the road, however, it could find itself sinking to lower prices.

While today’s climate of fear, uncertainty, and doubt is resulting in some buying opportunities opening up, this isn’t one of them. With this, I reiterate my position on PYPL stock: avoid.

On the date of publication, neither Louis Navellier nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.