What's going on?
Software firm Palantir reported quarterly earnings that met analysts’ expectations on Tuesday, and ambivalent investors shrugged off the – wait, what was that about bitcoin?
What does this mean?
Palantir – which makes analytics tools for major corporations and the defense industry – saw its revenue grow 49% compared to the same time last year, beating both the company’s own forecasts and analysts’ expectations. But ballooning costs – salaries, mainly – kept its profit from doing the same, and investors were feeling pretty lukewarm about the whole thing.
That is, until Palantir mentioned the magic word in its conference call: the firm’s decided to accept payment in bitcoin, and it’s even thinking of buying the OG cryptocurrency to bolster its own balance sheet. That might’ve done the trick: investors initially sent its shares 5% higher.
Why should I care?
For markets: Palantir’s focused on quality, not quantity.
One of investors’ biggest worries about Palantir is its dependence on a small number of big contracts. Lose one, and it’ll massively dent its profitability. But the company had some good news on that front: it added 11 new customers last quarter, bringing the total to 149. Those new additions might also be why the company’s forecasting 5% more sales this quarter than analysts were anticipating.
The bigger picture: Big Tech will be the first to go.
Palantir’s shares actually fell to their lowest level so far this year at the start of the week, in what was part of a wider pattern: the Nasdaq index – heavy on Big Tech names – is down around 5% this month. That’s mostly down to a key measure of US inflation expectations, which hit heights not seen since 2006 earlier this week (tweet this). After all, if prices rise too high, too fast, the US Federal Reserve is more likely to step in and boost interest rates to slow down the climb, which would make riskier stocks – tech stocks like Palantir among them – suddenly look more expensive.