Adobe Stock: Buy, Sell or Hold in 2023?

NASDAQ: ADBE | Adobe Inc. News, Ratings, and Charts

ADBE – Leading software company Adobe (ADBE) reported stable top- and bottom-line growth in the last reported quarter and has posted robust guidance for the current fiscal year. However, considering the controversies concerning the company and spurred insider selling, should you Buy, Sell or Hold the stock now? Let’s find out…

Leading software company Adobe Inc. (ADBE) delivered revenue and EPS in line with analyst estimates in the fiscal fourth quarter ending December 2, 2022. Moreover, for the fiscal year 2023, the company expects total revenue of $19.10 billion to $19.30 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $15.15-15.45.

Last year, to expand its user base to more casual consumers, ADBE acquired Figma, a leading web-first collaborative design platform, for approximately $20 billion in cash and stock. However, this acquisition has drawn criticism over the price paid by ADBE and the target’s valuation.

Moreover, a few weeks ago, Twitter users accused ADBE of using data collected by users to fuel generative AI services.

Nonetheless, Adobe’s Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky said that the company has “never, ever used anything in our storage to train a generative AI model” and revealed that the company analyzes user data and content for opportunities to improve features.

Furthermore, over the past year, insiders sold more shares in ADBE than they bought, with the biggest sale made by the Co-Founder & Independent Director, John Warnock, who sold $5.4 million worth of shares of the company at about $320 per share, below the then-current price of $337.

Also, the last three months saw significant insider selling at the company, with insiders selling $9.3 million worth of shares, indicating bearish sentiments.

ADBE has declined 27% over the past year, closing the last trading session at $364.98. However, it has gained 19.1% over the past three months. The stock has a 24-month beta of 1.63.

Here is what could influence ADBE’s performance in the upcoming months:

Mixed Financials

In the fiscal fourth quarter that ended December 2, 2022, ADBE’s total revenue increased 10.1% year-over-year to $4.53 billion. Gross profit grew 9.8% year-over-year to $3.96 billion. The company reported a non-GAAP operating income of $2.02 billion, up 8.9% year-over-year, while its non-GAAP net income increased 9.1% year-over-year to $1.68 billion.

However, ADBE’s product revenue declined 10.2% year-over-year to $115 million. Moreover, its total operating expenses rose 16.7% year-over-year to 2.45 billion in the same quarter.

Strong Profitability

ADBE’s trailing-12-month EBIT margin of 34.64% is 423% higher than the industry average of 6.62%, while its trailing-12-month EBITDA margin of 38.15% is 229.5% higher than the 11.58% industry average. The stock’s trailing 12-month gross profit margin of 87.70% is 77.1% higher than the 49.53% industry average.

Also, its trailing-12-month ROE, ROC, and ROA of 32.97%, 19.98%, and 17.51% are significantly higher than the respective industry averages of 4.75%, 3.21%, and 1.52%.

Premium Valuation

In terms of forward EV/Sales, ADBE is trading at 8.40x, 208.7% higher than the industry average of 2.72x. The stock’s forward Price/Sales multiple of 8.47X is 199.3% higher than the industry average of 2.83x. Moreover, in terms of its forward non-GAAP PEG, it is trading at 1.60x, which is 3% higher than the industry average of 1.55x.

POWR Ratings Reflect Uncertainty

ADBE has an overall rating of C, translating to a Neutral in our POWR Ratings system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by accounting for 118 distinct factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

Our proprietary rating system also evaluates each stock based on eight distinct categories.

ADBE has an A grade for Quality, consistent with its high profitability.

However, its D grade in Momentum is justified, as the stock has slumped significantly over the past year and is trading below its 200-day moving average of $365.07.

ADBE is ranked #40 out of 139 stocks in the Software-Application industry.

In addition to the POWR Ratings stated above, we have also given ADBE grades for Value, Growth, Sentiment, and Stability. Get access to all ADBE ratings here.

Bottom Line

ADBE has been gaining in price lately, and Wall Street analysts see a 3.7% upside potential in the stock. However, out of the 21 Wall Street analysts that rated ADBE, seven rated it Buy, while fourteen rated it Hold. Moreover, the recent controversial AI issue and rise in insider selling might impact its share price.

Given its premium valuations, I think it might be wise to wait for a better entry point in the stock.

How Does Adobe Inc. (ADBE) Stack Up Against its Peers?

ADBE has an overall POWR Rating of C. One could also check out these other stocks within the Software-Application industry with an A (Strong Buy) rating: Progress Software Corporation (PRGS), Commvault Systems, Inc. (CVLT), and IBEX Ltd. (IBEX).

ADBE shares were unchanged in premarket trading Tuesday. Year-to-date, ADBE has gained 8.45%, versus a 4.76% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

About the Author: Kritika Sarmah

Her interest in risky instruments and passion for writing made Kritika an analyst and financial journalist. She earned her bachelor's degree in commerce and is currently pursuing the CFA program. With her fundamental approach, she aims to help investors identify untapped investment opportunities. More...

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