Why PDD Holdings Stock Popped on Monday

Shares of rising Chinese e-commerce star PDD Holdings (PDD 3.73%) are rising themselves Monday morning, up 3.8% through 10:05 a.m. ET. The reason?

Last night’s Super Bowl featured a long list of commercial advertisers. One of the most often repeated ads over the course of those five quarters of football featured an orange-themed paean to shopping on fast-fashion website Temu — which as it so happens is owned by PDD Holdings.

The Temu ad

This morning, Temu investors aren’t exactly shopping “like a billionaire.” But they do seem to be reacting positively to the ad, and bidding up the shares modestly on hopes the additional exposure will bring in lots of new U.S. customers.

Advertising analysts are guesstimating Temu spent as much as $21 million to run its 30-second ad three times during the big game. And CNN reports the company has been giving away about $15 million more in coupons and various other promotions during the big ad push.

That sounds like a lot of money, but for waking giant PDD, with more than $170 billion in market capitalization and nearly $28 billion in annual revenue, it’s actually not a lot — and probably well worth the investment to introduce a huge audience of possible shoppers to the idea that there’s an e-commerce alternative to Amazon — which didn’t run a single commercial during last night’s game, by the way.

Is PDD Holdings stock a buy?

Just because other investors are buying PDD today, of course, does not mean that you should, too. But as it turns out, I think a case can be made for buying PDD as a value stock — or rather, as a growth-at-a-reasonable-price stock.

Granted, at a P/E ratio of 26.5 times earnings, PDD stock doesn’t look obviously cheap at first glance. But the company generated $11.4 billion in positive free cash flow (FCF) over the last 12 reported months — nearly twice its reported net income. The company furthermore boasts $25.5 billion more cash than debt on its balance sheet, lowering its enterprise value (EV) to about $144 billion. That gives the stock an EV/FCF ratio of about 12.6 — roughly twice as cheap as PDD’s P/E suggests.

With earnings expected to grow 21% annually over the next five years — not counting any bump from this latest ad campaign, this seems a pretty cheap price to pay for a fast-growing stock. I don’t know about you, but PDD Holdings stock sure looks like a buy to me.

John Mackey, former CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Amazon and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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