Affirm Holdings shares rally after Goldman upgrades to buy rating

(Reuters) -Shares in Affirm Holdings were up 11.5% on Monday, snapping a six-day losing streak, after Goldman Sachs upgraded its rating to buy and raised its price target.

Goldman cited the fintech company’s competitive underwriting compared with rivals and “well managed credit outcomes” despite faster growth as reasons for the upgrade.

Goldman analyst Will Nance took over coverage of the provider of payment and lending services and started by upgrading the firm’s rating from previous analyst Michael Ng’s neutral and raising the 12-month price target to $42 from $21.

The stock hit a session high in afternoon trading and was last at $33.34 after opening at $31.

Nance said short duration receivable and “transaction level underwriting” allows Affirm to “segregate and separately underwrite individual customers’ different types of spending” such as debit spending, cash flow management, short-term financing and longer-term installment financing from a single card-based product.

This compares with the historical trend for card issuers’ single revolving credit lines, which Nance says comes with a much higher cost to the consumer borrower and much higher levels of risk to the lender.

The median price target for Affirm is $39.53, according to data from LSEG, which shows 17 analysts covering the company.

Wall Street analyst ratings of Affirm range from one strong sell, two sell, nine hold and five buy ratings.

Year-to-date Affirm shares are down about 35% compared with a roughly 17% gain for the Nasdaq composite.

(Reporting By Sinéad Carew; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Sharon Singleton)