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Snap stock has slid recently, but Barclays says investors should hold on.

  • Snap's first-quarter earnings results should be positive, Barclays analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note to clients.
  • Snap stock skyrocketed to above $20 in February, only to then get hit with a slew of headwinds, landing it at a negative return for the year.
  • Sandler lists three core reasons Snap is set to show a good first-quarter report card.
  • Watch Snap stock in real time here.

Snap should see a positive first-quarter earnings report, according to a note from Barclays analyst Ross Sandler.

Snap shares are down slightly less than 1% year-to-date, after they soared to above $20 on a positive fourth-quarter 2017 earnings report.

The stock got hit on a number of fronts, sending it back down below its $17 a share IPO price. Snap faced an onslaught of negative attention starting with Kylie Jenner fleeing the platform in late February, which wiped out $1.3 billion of market cap. In mid March, Snap had to apologize and pull an advertisement asking users "would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?" In late March, Snap announced a new round of layoffs.

Snap also suffered from a broader decline in tech stocks in early April, which saw the Nasdaq enter the red for the year, after the news of a Facebook data breach broke and President Donald Trump announced a crackdown on Chinese investment in US tech.

The Snap-specific stock drops have largely centered around investors' fear of decelerating user growth, which Sandler says is "overdone."

Sandler, who has a bullish price target of $21 on Snap, cited three reasons investors should expect a good start to 2018 for Snapchat.

  • Snap's new advertising technology is paying off. "The key positive development that most investors have yet to appreciate is the traction SNAP is seeing with direct response marketers after rolling out its measurement pixel in late 4Q," Sandler wrote. He added that "We've spoken to a number of advertisers who have ramped spend on SNAP meaningfully in the last 90 days after adopting the pixel."
  • Snap's daily active user growth should be strong. "Concerns around SNAP seeing a huge deceleration in DAU net adds and engagement on the back of the recent redesign are overblown," the note said. It said "SNAP has far higher daily engagement (25+ sessions/DAU) and is a core communication service." It added that "a couple tweets from celebrities and a petition from 1.5m users is unlikely to meaningfully impact the aggregate 190m DAU base."
  • Sandler also believes that marketers want to diversify their ad platforms, which Jefferies analyst Brent Thill agrees with. Sandler wrote in his note that "large marketers are looking for channels outside of GOOGL/FB to deploy dollars."

Snap is up 3% in the past week.