What Is Going on With HUBS Shares?

One of today's standouts was HubSpot, a software company whose shares are up 7.4%, outperforming the Nasdaq by 7.0%. At $448.72, the stock is not far from its average analyst target price of $450.22.

The average analyst rating for the stock is buy. HUBS outperformed the S&P 500 index by 8.0% so far today, and by 24.0% over the last year with a return of 22.5%.

HubSpot, Inc. provides a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform for businesses in the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. The company is a technology company. Valuations in the technology sector are often very high, as investors are willing to overlook gaps in the fundamentals if they believe a company’s innovations can dominate or create new markets.

HubSpot does not release its trailing 12 month P/E ratio since its earnings per share of $-2.34 were negative over the last year. But we can calculate it ourselves, which gives us a trailing P/E ratio for HUBS of -191.8. Based on the company's positive earnings guidance of $5.55, the stock has a forward P/E ratio of 80.9. As of the first quarter of 2023, the average Price to Earnings (P/E) ratio of US technology companies is 27.16, and the S&P 500 average is 15.97. The P/E ratio consists in the stock's share price divided by its earnings per share (EPS), representing how much investors are willing to spend for each dollar of the company's earnings. Earnings are the company's revenues minus the cost of goods sold, overhead, and taxes.

HubSpot's P/E ratio tells us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of the company's earnings. The problem with this metric is that it doesn't take into account the expected growth in earnings of the stock. Sometimes elevated P/E ratios can be justified by equally elevated growth expectations.

We can solve this inconsistency by dividing the company's trailing P/E ratio by its five year earnings growth estimate, which in this case gives us a 2.5 Price to Earnings Growth (PEG) ratio. Since the PEG ratio is greater than 1, the company's lofty valuation is not completely justified by its growth levels.

To better understand the strength of HubSpot's business, we can analyse its operating margins, which are its revenues minus its operating costs. Consistently strong margins backed by a positive trend can signal that a company is on track to deliver returns for its shareholders. Here's the operating margin statistics for the last four years:

Date Reported Total Revenue ($ k) Operating Expenses ($ k) Operating Margins (%) YoY Growth (%)
2022-12-31 1,730,969 1,525,811 -6.3 -49.64
2021-12-31 1,300,658 1,096,600 -4.21 26.91
2020-12-31 883,026 766,895 -5.76 17.24
2019-12-31 674,860 591,893 -6.96 n/a
  • Average operating margins: -5.8 %
  • Average operating margins growth rate: 2.5 %
  • Coefficient of variability (lower numbers indicate less volatility): 20.2 %

HubSpot's financial viability can also be assessed through a review of its free cash flow trends. Free cash flow refers to its operating cash flows minues its capital expenditures, which are expenses related to the maintenance of fixed assets such as land, infrastructure, and equipment. Over the last four years, the trends have been as follows:

Date Reported Cash Flow from Operations ($ k) Capital expenditures ($ k) Free Cashflow ($ k) YoY Growth (%)
2022-12-31 273,174 -91,771 181,403 2.57
2021-12-31 238,728 -61,865 176,863 488.76
2020-12-31 88,913 -58,873 30,040 -53.87
2019-12-31 118,973 -53,846 65,127 n/a
  • Average free cash flow: $113.36 Million
  • Average free cash flow growth rate: 29.2 %
  • Coefficient of variability (lower numbers indicating more stability): 68.2 %

Free cash flows represents the amount of money that is available for reinvesting in the business, or paying out to investors in the form of a dividend. With a positive cash flow as of the last fiscal year, HUBS is in a position to do either -- which can encourage more investors to place their capital in the company.

Value investors often analyze stocks through the lens of its Price to Book (P/B) Ratio (its share price divided by its book value). As of the first quarter of 2023, the mean P/B ratio of the technology sector is 6.23, compared to the S&P 500 average of 2.95. The book value refers to the present value of the company if the company were to sell off all of its assets and pay all of its debts today - a number whose value may differ significantly depending on the accounting method. HubSpot's P/B ratio indicates that the market value of the company exceeds its book value by a factor of 22.26, so it's likely that equity investors are over-valuing the company's assets.

As of first quarter of 2023, HubSpot is likely fairly valued because it has a negative P/E ratio, an elevated P/B ratio, and generally positive cash flows that are on an upwards course. The stock has mixed growth prospects because of its negative and irregular operating margins with a stable trend, and a negative PEG ratio. We hope this analysis will inspire you to do your own research into HUBS's fundamental values -- especially their trends over time.

The above analysis is intended for educational purposes only and was performed on the basis of publicly available data. It is not to be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Any buy, sell, or other recommendations mentioned in the article are direct quotations of consensus recommendations from the analysts covering the stock, and do not represent the opinions of Market Inference or its writers. Past performance, accounting data, and inferences about market position and corporate valuation are not reliable indicators of future price movements. Market Inference does not provide financial advice. Investors should conduct their own review and analysis of any company of interest before making an investment decision.