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What’s going on with dotDigital’s share price?

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dotDigital (LSE: DOTD) shares are having an incredible run right now. Year to date, its share price is up about 44%. Over the last 12 months, it’s risen nearly 120%.

Here, I’m going to look at what’s driving shares in the digital marketing company higher. I’ll also discuss whether I’d buy DOTD shares now.

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Why dotDigital’s share price is rising

In my view, there are a number of reasons dotDigital’s share price is rising. One is that company results have continued to be strong. In its interim results for the six months to 31 December 2020, posted back in February, dotDigital reported organic revenue growth of 22%, along with profit growth of 13%. Average revenue per customer was up 20%. These are impressive numbers, given the economic conditions during the period.

Another reason is that sentiment towards UK tech stocks is quite positive at the moment and has been for most of the year. I think investors are realising that, compared to US tech stocks, their UK peers offer a lot of value. dotDigital certainly isn’t the only software-as-a-service (SaaS) to rip higher. Just look at Cerillion, which I highlighted as a top UK tech stock to buy in January. It’s up about 150% over the last year.

Finally, I think investors are waking up to the fact that dotDigital is a top UK technology stock (which is what I’ve been saying for years now!) It has a strong growth track record and plenty of growth potential ahead, recurring revenues, a high return on capital employed, and a robust balance sheet. It could even be a takeover target.

Recently, two major brokerage houses have started covering the stock. In June, Berenberg initiated coverage with a ‘buy’ rating and a price target of 290p. Meanwhile, in May, Jefferies started with a ‘buy’ rating and a price target of 220p. This kind of activity from analysts may have increased awareness of the stock.

Is dotDigital a buy now?

I’ve been bullish on dotDigital for a long time. I first purchased shares in the company in 2013 when they were trading just below 25p. It’s fair to say the stock has been a great investment for me. Looking ahead, I expect the company to continue growing on the back of the growth of e-commerce. So I’ll be holding on to my shares.

That said, I think the stock’s a bit expensive right now. For the year ending 30 June 2022, analysts have pencilled in earnings per share of 3.94p. This means that, at the current share price, DOTD has a forward-looking price-to-earnings ratio of about 58.

I could justify a P/E of around 40 here, given the company’s high-quality attributes. Perhaps even 45. However, 58’s a little too elevated for my liking. At that valuation, the stock is priced for perfection and there’s very little ‘margin of safety’. If future results are disappointing, the share price could experience a significant decline.

As I said earlier, I’m still bullish on the long-term story here. However, if I was looking to buy dotDigital shares, I’d be waiting for a pullback.

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Edward Sheldon owns shares of dotDigital Group. The Motley Fool UK has recommended dotDigital Group. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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