In the most recent FTSE Russell reshuffle, PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) stock was added into its value index. Having fallen over 60% this year with the worst of economic headwinds yet to come, this was an understandable move. Nonetheless, the fintech company is now trading at a reasonable price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 23. So, should I buy its stock in July?
The Fed is no Pal
Just like PayPal stock, US retail sales figures have been steadily declining since February. In fact, retail sales came in at -0.3% in May, on a month-on-month basis. This is an indication that consumer spending is decreasing as a result of higher interest rates.
The US Federal Reserve is committed to increasing interest rates until inflation retreats back down to 2%. Consequently, several analysts are pencilling the odds of a recession at 50%. If this were to happen, I expect the suffering for PayPal shareholders to get worse.
With less money flowing throughout the US economy, the platform stands to earn less from payments and transfers. This is because higher interest rates means higher borrowing costs, limiting the flow of cash around the economy.
More than just PayPal
Nonetheless, PayPal has a couple of interesting developments that could make it a fortune in the long term, as the fintech group has several brands to it. These businesses are seeing encouraging growth and progress. The list includes PayPal itself, Venmo, Braintree, Paidy, Xoom, Honey, iZettle, and Hyperwallet. I’m extremely upbeat about the group’s future prospects beyond its main business. But in particular, I have my attention focused on Venmo’s prospects as an American mobile payment service.
The company has lined up partnerships with Amazon and Doordash. These big firms are expected to integrate Venmo into their payment options later this year. If successful, I envision these collaborations to bring a flood of cash to the top line for PayPal.
Quantity over quality
Having said that, it’s worth noting that the core business still remains susceptible to harsh economic headwinds. Analysts have revised the stock’s average earnings per share down from $1.24 to $0.97 for the year.
Not to mention, its Venmo partnerships are yet to come into effect. For one, management has been silent on when the Amazon partnership will take place. Secondly, Doordash is yet to agree to business terms and conditions.
However, what concerns me most is its profit margins, which have been on a decline over the last four quarters. PayPal has to compete with the likes of Wise and Western Union, having lost market share over the years. Its current take rate is 2%, which is higher than Wise’s. Therefore, for it to continue being competitive, it’ll have to cut down its margins in order to retain/grow its transaction and customer volumes.
Thinning profit margins (Despite increasing volume) shows that PayPal is losing its pricing power and market dominance. As such, I won’t be buying more PayPal stock for now. Instead, I’ll be holding onto my shares in hopes that the Amazon partnership bears fruit.