DASH in, EBAY out - a Deep Dive Into the 2024 Implications

Following the conclusion of the Consumer Price Index report and the Federal Reserve meeting, we are approaching the last major “liquidity event” of the year: the annual reconstitution of the Nasdaq 100 Index.

In the latest annual reconstitution of the index, floundering e-commerce giant eBay Inc. (EBAY) has seen its spot given to the thriving food delivery service DoorDash, Inc. (DASH). The respective removal and addition will take effect before the commencement of trading on December 18, 2023.

Inclusion within the Nasdaq-100 Index is significant for stocks as it is a reference point for numerous financial products, encompassing options, futures, and funds. Portfolio managers, maintaining portfolios synced with the index, purchase shares in the same proportion included in the index. The addition of stocks is dictated by market capitalization and trade volume. The removal indicates a shift in favor of other companies that met these criteria more closely.

The annual reconstitution aligns with another significant trading occurrence known as triple witching, a quarterly phenomenon marking the expiration of stock options, index options, and futures.

This period provides an invaluable opportunity for the trading community to transfer substantial stock quantities during the final burst of tax loss harvesting or strategically position themselves for the coming year. There will typically be a 30%-40% decrease in trading volume in the year's last two weeks post-triple witching, with noteworthy volume largely limited to the final trading day.

While all this may seem of mere scholarly curiosity, the recent surge in passive index investing over the past two decades has heightened the importance of these events to investors.

Adjustments to these indexes, whether through additions or deletions, share count alterations, or changes in weightings to lower the dominance of large companies, initiate substantial monetary transfers into and out of mutual funds and ETFs directly or indirectly associated with these indexes.

Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ) is emblematic of these changes due to its strategic linking with the Nasdaq-100, which lists the 100 largest nonfinancial companies on the Nasdaq. The QQQ fund ranks as the fifth-largest ETF, overseeing approximately $220 billion in managed assets.

Given this backdrop, let’s delve into an in-depth analysis of DASH and EBAY stocks and find out what’s in store for them in 2024.

DoorDash, Inc. (DASH)

DASH, a prominent American food delivery provider, has recently garnered attention for various developments attracting investor interest. A key factor is a surge in the company's share value following an impressive earnings report, largely fueled by its deliberate extension beyond customary restaurant delivery services.

The ongoing favorable momentum has been additionally strengthened by the release that DASH is set to feature on the Nasdaq-100 Index. This indicates the company’s burgeoning prominence and fortifying position within the industry.

In the fiscal third quarter that ended September 30, 2023, the company reported a surge in revenues by 27.2% year-over-year to a whopping $2.16 billion, surpassing the consensus mark.

This considerable growth is attributed to the robust performance across total orders and Marketplace GOV, along with refined logistics efficiency and growing advertising contributions. Total orders increased 23.7% year-over-year to 543 million, while Marketplace GOV increased 23.8% from the year-ago quarter to $16.75 billion.

Looking forward to the fiscal fourth quarter ending December 2023, the company projects its Marketplace GOV to range between $17 billion and $17.4 billion. Meanwhile, the adjusted EBITDA is expected to stand between $320 million and $380 million. It is noteworthy that DASH plans significant, ongoing investments in the future as it seeks to broaden its service offerings.

After these results, DASH shares saw a rise of over 7.5% during after-hours trading, signaling investor confidence. The post-earnings rally of DASH shares bears testament to the company's financial wellness and effective strategies to diversify its revenue sources. Its deliberate shift beyond restaurants to include delivery services for groceries, alcohol, and other items has appealed to its consumer base, attracting investors along the way.

The exceeding market expectations with its earnings report indicates that the company's growth strategies produce measurable outcomes crucial to maintaining long-term investor trust.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ending December 2023, analysts anticipate its revenue to increase 24.1% year-over-year to $2.26 billion, while EPS is expected to come at $0.55.

In a rare and strategically significant decision, the firm transitioned from the NYSE to the Nasdaq in September 2023, signifying its positioning and businesses centered on innovative technology. DASH’s CFO Ravi Inukonda said, “We are delighted to join a community of leading technology companies with our transfer to Nasdaq.”

This momentous shift, further strengthened by the company's recent inclusion in the Nasdaq 100, has the potential to amplify investor trust, possibly driving increased market capitalization in forthcoming years.

The Nasdaq-100 Index, encompassing some of the most prodigious and influential entities within the technology and innovation domains, has recently acknowledged DASH's escalating prominence via its inclusion.

This inclusion is traditionally followed by a surge in the demand for the company's shares, initiated by funds tethered to the Nasdaq-100 that are now obliged to purchase stock in DASH. Historical examples corroborate the potential for such inclusion, triggering an upswing in stock prices.

This development also endorses the recognition of DASH for its stellar scalability, incessant innovation, and adeptness at market adaptation – qualities seen as ideal for corporations represented in the technology-centric benchmark. It simultaneously alludes to a transformation in market dynamics and the arrangement of the tech industry, where DASH’s operating model aligns better with extant and prospective market trajectories.

From the investors’ perspective, such an inclusion might be interpreted as a portent of persistent growth, inciting a reevaluation of their investment portfolios. The acknowledgment from Nasdaq will likely draw a more diversified range of investors, like institutional investors, potentially augmenting liquidity and raising visibility for DASH shares.

However, investors should be aware of the stark competition and the intrinsic risks inherent to the rapidly evolving delivery market, characteristic features of which comprise regulatory hurdles and the compulsory need for uninterrupted innovation.

eBay Inc. (EBAY)

EBAY is grappling with intensified competition from e-commerce contemporaries and macroeconomic hurdles. In the fiscal third quarter that ended September 30, 2023, its profit was $1.03 per share, and sales stood at $2.50 billion, aligning with analyst estimates.

Gross merchandise volume, the value of all goods sold on EBAY, increased 1.6% to $17.99 billion in the quarter, surpassing analysts’ average estimates of $17.72 billion. The company reported 132 million active buyers in the quarter, down 2.2% year-over-year. Its advertising revenue of $366 million fell short of analysts’ estimates.

EBAY's recent sales forecast for the upcoming holiday period has dispirited investors. Revenues for the current quarter are anticipated to be between $2.47 billion and $2.53 billion. Even though the figure seems healthy, it falls below the industry analysts' average projections of $2.60 billion. The company expects EPS between $1 and $1.05 in the quarter ending in December, below the analysts’ $1.05 estimate.

EBAY's gloomy revenue outlook for the traditionally profitable holiday season implies persisting struggles in maintaining customer loyalty against fierce rivalry from larger competitors. Projected U.S. online sales are expected to swell by 4.8% during the holiday period of November 1 to December 31. However, EBAY faces a steep climb in attracting consumers. To confront these obstacles, the organization intends to heighten its cost-efficiency to preserve profit margins and earnings.

The unexpected forecast shocked the financial arena, particularly unnerving EBAY investors. Following the disclosure, EBAY’s shares plummeted significantly, highlighting the extensive expectations investors harbor for the company owing to its dominant e-commerce standing.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ending December 2023, analysts anticipate its revenue to decrease marginally year-over-year to $2.51 billion, while EPS is expected to decline 4.2% year-over-year to $1.02.

Additionally, EBAY's exclusion from the Nasdaq-100 Index indicates its diminishing influence and an uncertain long-term business outlook. The removal might weigh the company's stock price, leading to diminished appeal and demand among investors who actively follow or invest in the index. Concurrently, index funds mirroring the Nasdaq-100 could divest their EBAY shares in favor of newly added stocks, thereby increasing selling pressure on EBAY.

The removal could reflect diminished market confidence in EBAY’s performance and growth trajectory, particularly when benchmarked against its e-commerce competitors.

However, this shift also presents EBAY with a unique opportunity for introspection and strategic reassessment. To secure its industry competitiveness, it becomes imperative for the company to acclimate to evolving market dynamics and align itself with investor anticipations.

Despite these potential impacts, the actual effect of this reconstitution might not be significantly detrimental or enduring, as EBAY’s infrastructural foundations and market positioning do not stand directly compromised by the reordering.

In addition, EBAY could potentially harness certain favorable factors to its advantage. These include an uptick in retail activity during the holiday season, the broadening reach of its managed payment service, and robust growth within its classifieds and advertising segments.