Shares of Futu Holdings Ltd FUTU holdings drifted lower on Friday after a big week for the Chinese online brokerage platform.

Futu shares surged after the company reported first-quarter earnings and revenue beats, and the big earnings report landed Futu a Wall Street double upgrade on Friday.

The Futu Analyst: Bank of America analyst Emma Xu upgraded Futu from Underperform to Buy and raised her price target from $44.50 to $60.

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The Futu Takeaways: Investors are optimistic that recent media reports suggesting a potential easing of the Chinese crackdown on tech stocks will help improve investor sentiment for Futu moving forward. In her upgrade note, Xu said Futu is accumulating bullish catalysts.

“We see more positive news in [the] internet/new economy space, e.g. 60 online games were approved on Jun 7, which revived hopes of [Chinese regulators] loosening [their] grip on the industry,” Xu said.

She listed five reasons she likes the stock at current levels:

  • Futu is gaining market share from smaller brokers in Hong Kong.
  • Its clients’ unique economics are improving in Shanghai.
  • U.S. self-clearing will be completed by mid-2022, which will boost fiscal 2022 pre-tax profits.
  • If U.S. interest rates continue to rise, Futu can generate significantly more interest income on clients’ idle cash.
  • Customer acquisition costs are expected to fall once certain pre-booked fixed costs are phased out.

Xu said she believes Futu and other Chinese ADRs listed in the U.S. that do not have sensitive data may be able to comply with new U.S. disclosure regulations without being delisted.

At the same time, she said Futu would be eligible for listing elsewhere if the company is eventually delisted in the U.S.

Benzinga’s Take: Like many other Chinese stocks, Futu has had a rough go of it in the last year despite some extremely impressive growth numbers. Futu shares are down 69.2% over 12 months, but the company reported 27% growth in total platform users in the first quarter.

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