May 3, 2018 / 3:13 PM / in 21 days

Spotify shares skid as inaugural results undermine Wall Street hype

(Reuters) - Music streaming service Spotify Technology SA’s shares fell 9 percent in early trading on Thursday as the company’s first quarterly report underwhelmed in the face of heightened Wall Street hype.

A trader is reflected in a computer screen displaying the Spotify brand before the company begins selling as a direct listing on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Spotify, which made an unorthodox direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April, reported largely in-line results, raising concerns about its success in turning free music listeners into paying subscribers.

In the past week, as many as seven analysts started coverage on the stock with their top rating. While there were no immediate downgrades or price cuts following the results, some analysts said investors’ expectations were overblown ahead of the results.

“Spotify delivered solid Q1, but Street expected more upside in its first quarter as a public company,” J.P.Morgan analysts wrote in a note.

The brokerage said it saw no change to its overall positive thesis on the Swedish company, reiterating its “overweight” rating and a $190 price target.

The stock was down 9 percent at $153.77 in early trading, having risen 14 percent as of Wednesday’s close since its listing on April 3.

UBS analysts expected investors to have a muted reaction to Spotify’s inaugural results with revenue and subscriptions coming in below the top end of its guided range being a “light disappointment”.

Slow growth in North America, where the service is up against tech heavyweights Apple, Amazon and Google as well as smaller peer Pandora, was highlighted as a concern by Atlantic Equities and RBC analysts.

This could reduce revenue growth and increase marketing spending, the analysts said.

Spotify, which launched its streaming music service a decade ago, has enjoyed a surge in subscriber growth only in recent years. It has 75 million paid subscribers, compared with Apple Music’s 40 million.

Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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