Upwork is Loved on Valentine’s Day — Shares Hit All-Time High

workers paprikaworks/Adobe Stock

On Valentine’s Day, Upwork shares reached an all-time high of $23.50 before closing at $23.18 on the Nasdaq. Upwork’s market cap rose to $2.46 billion, up from $1.96 billion on Jan. 2, 2019 (an increase of half a billion dollars).

In one respect, this makes clear that Upwork is truly part of the contingent workforce solutions pack of companies, and some kind of rising tide is lifting some boats in the sector (perhaps the renewed optimism that, for the short-term at least, the economy would not likely be taking a nose-dive into a recession).

Still, it is unclear what drove Upwork’s share price performance during January and what drove the acceleration starting in February.

As seen below, the price Thursday is also well above the peak price of $21.18 on Oct. 13, the day after the IPO last fall.

Source: Google

Upwork’s share price had been hovering at the $18-19 price for some weeks after the start of the new year. But the price began rising sharply from $18.58 on Feb. 1 to the closing price of $23.18 on Feb. 14 (an increase of 25% in two weeks). By Feb. 5, Upwork shares began out-performing the Nasdaq Composite Index (against which it had been lagging since the beginning of the year).

Source: Google

That said, shares of some publicly traded U.S.-based staffing companies (like Manpower, Kelly Services, On Assignment) have been outperforming the Nasdaq Composite Index since the beginning of the year (and most of the U.S.-based, public staffing companies have been outperforming the index since early February).

Source: Yahoo Finance

Upwork will be reporting its fourth quarter and full year 2018 financial results Feb. 28, so perhaps this is driving trading activity in anticipation of positive results or the work of market arbitragers. But we’ll have to wait until the 28th and see how the market reacts then (and in the interim). On Friday, Feb. 15, Upwork shares closed at $22.06 — confirming the age-old truth that love is fickle.

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