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ROKU Stock is a Sell, and NOT Just Because of SVB Exposure - Stock Market Latest

In March, Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU) stock was in the spotlight, and not in a good way.

The company announced that $487 million, or around 26% of its cash position, was in SVB Financial’s (OTCMKTS:SIVBQ) now-defunct Silicon Valley Bank subsidiary.

This left it as one of the most high-profile companies affected by the bank collapse. This, of course, affected the price of ROKU stock.

However, this unforeseen risk has largely dissipated. Relief that the streaming company would keep its uninsured deposits, coupled with renewed bullishness for tech stocks, enabled ROKU to quickly bounce back from its losses.

Yet while Roku may be out of the woods with its bank deposit problem, that doesn’t mean shares are a buy. In fact, because of factors more directly related to its business, it may be best to stay away.

 SVB Deposits No Longer at Risk

There’s a reason Roku shares only experienced a modest drop lower upon news of the company’s SVB deposits. From the start, the market anticipated that the company would fully recover these funds. This became all but certain within days of Silicon Valley Bank’s seizure by the FDIC.

On March 13, the banking regulator, along with the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, jointly announced that SVB’s depositors, insured and uninsured, would be fully protected.

With this, it’s no surprise that ROKU stock, which fell from the mid-$60s to the high-$50s per share upon news of its deposit issue, was back up at prior price levels by March 16.

Shares have held steady in subsequent weeks. Again, due to improving sentiment for tech stocks. In addition, investors reacted positively to news of the company’s plans to reduce its workforce by 6%.

This downsizing effort will cause a $30 million-$35 million reduction in its operating expenses.

Even with this mix of promising news and improved sentiment, more trouble may lie ahead. Mostly, because the issues that have sent shares significantly lower since 2021 continue to persist.

Shares Could Stay in a Slump, or Worse

Once of the top high-flying tech names during the pandemic-era bull market, ROKU stock has fallen by more than 86% from its all-time closing high of $479.50 per share.

Few may be bullish that shares can re-hit this high water mark, but an increasing number of investors have been wagering on a partial recovery. As a result, shares have moved 58% higher since January.

However, I wouldn’t count on it taking shape soon. Although Roku’s most recently-released quarterly results exceeded expectations, analyst revenue estimates ($3.26 billion) call for minimal growth compared to 2022 ($3.12 billion), as digital ad demand softens.

If that’s not discouraging enough, sell-side forecasts also call for the company’s losses to widen during 2023, from $3.62 per share to $5.15 per share.

Forecasts also call for losses in 2024 and 2025. This is despite the expectation of growth re-acceleration during this timeframe.

Barring a faster-than-expected rebound in demand, and/or the announcement of more significant cost savings, chances are that ROKU will hold steady at or near current prices.

At worst, if demand challenges worsen in the months ahead, the stock could drift lower.

The Best Move Today

Roku has avoided becoming an unexpected victim of the banking crisis. This has enabled the stock to hold onto its 2023 gains.

However, even as the stock has avoided a sharp pullback/correction for now, that may not be the case less than a month from now.

The company should release its quarterly results in early May.

With expectations rising since the last quarterly earnings release, any bit of disappointment (whether with results or guidance) may be enough to send the stock back towards its 52-week low ($38.26 per share).

Even on a longer timeframe, the chances of a further recovery are questionable. Besides the forecast of continued losses over the next two years, competitive pressures from Roku’s larger rivals may limit the company’s ability to move beyond “streaming also-ran” status.

SVB exposure is no longer an issue, but with the story unchanged, sell/avoid this stock.

On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.

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