Palantir CEO has a simple reason company’s stock draws Reddit crowd: ‘We respect the intelligence and the rigor of what is typically called individual investors’


Alex Karp, chief executive of Palantir, on Wednesday said the company respects the retail crowd, which has been mostly bullish on its stock, just as much as it appreciates institutional investors.

Speaking at a Barron’s Investing in Tech virtual conference, Karp speculated that Palantir’s bold claims, as well as its plain-spoken statements as a company and about its mission, have helped to engender the confidence of individual investors.

“We speak [in] clear English about what we are going to do…because of that we respect the intelligence and the rigor of what is typically called individual investors,” Karp said.

Palantir went public back on Sept. 30 via a direct listing and rapidly became a popular trade among individual investors. The data-mining and software solutions firm, which is viewed as secretive by some, is particularly popular on venues like Robinhood Markets and Reddit.

Shares of Palantir Technologies PLTR, +1.60% were up 1.6% on Wednesday and have climbed 24% in the past 30 days but only 5.3% in the year to date, FactSet data show.

By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.77% is down 0.3% over the past 30 days but up nearly 12% in the year to date. The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.54% is up 1.6% in the month and up nearly 13% so far in 2021, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.24% is up 4.7% in the 30-day period and up more than 9% thus far in the year.

An outspoken executive, Karp also said that Wall Street analysts tend to poorly understand the company, often in an effort to label it.

“Analysts tend to butcher that quite frankly by breaking us up into the Frankenstein monster that they might otherwise see in an enterprise monster,” he said.

Palantir recently reported a fiscal first-quarter net loss of $123 million, or 7 cents a share, compared with a loss of $54 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. Palantir’s revenue for the quarter rose to $341 million from $229 million a year prior, while analysts tracked by FactSet were projecting $332 million. The company added 11 new commercial customers in the latest quarter.

Roughly half of Palantir’s revenues are derived from government contracts.

Karp said that companies need to be more focused on software, which he said is “moving from a luxury product to the thing that will determine whether you survive as an industry…. or as a government.”

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