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MarketAxess (MKTX) Up 1.7% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for MarketAxess (MKTX - Free Report) . Shares have added about 1.7% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is MarketAxess due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

MarketAxess Q2 Earnings Beat Estimates, Fall Y/Y

MarketAxess Holdings earnings of $1.77 per share, beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6% but declined 20% year over year.

Like earnings, revenues of $176.3 million showed a year-over-year decline of 5%. The same, however, beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.3%.

Soft Trading Volumes Pull Down Revenues

Bond trading volumes of this operator of electronic bond trading platform suffered low levels of credit market volatility. It was a very tough year-over-year comparison as last year, credit spread volatility was greater and credit spreads in high-grade were also wider.

Credit spread widening means higher risks involved in the market, which is when bond looks more attractive. In 2020, the company witnessed huge debt issuance by corporates. These factors expanded bond trading, which in turn, aided volumes, revenues and earnings growth of the company.

With the economic revival this year, bond trading somewhat tapered down. In the June quarter, trading volumes declined 9.8% to $668.9 billion in total credit category. Rates trading was down 7% to $888.3 billion. MarketAxess entered rates trading in 2019 through its acquisition of LiquidityEdge, an electronic U.S. Treasuries marketplace.

The company earns commission and fees revenues on the trades executed on its platforms. Thus, lower trading volume weighed on its commission and fees revenues, which constitute 90% of its revenues. Commission revenues fell 9.1% to $156.4 million. Commission revenues included $1.1 million generated by MuniBrokers, which was acquired in April 2021.

All other revenues (10% of total revenues), which consist of information services, post-trade services and other revenues, soared 57% year over year to $19.9 million. The jump was mainly owing to $3.8 million of regulatory trade reporting revenues generated by Regulatory Reporting Hub, which was acquired from Deutsche Börse Group in November 2020. A weaker dollar compared to the U.K pound resulted in revenue gains of $1.3 million.

High Expenses Weigh Down Margins

While revenues declined, operating expenses rose 10.5% to $89.2 million, creating pressure on the margins. Investment in the company’s growth initiatives including geographic expansion, trading automation, new trading protocols and the transition to self-clearing shot up expenses.
Consequently, operating margin shrank 700 basis points year over year to 49.4%.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended downward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted -14.01% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, MarketAxess has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the fifth quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.

Outlook

Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise MarketAxess has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.


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