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Why The Trade Desk Stock Jumped 123.8% in 2019

What happened

Shares of The Trade Desk (NASDAQ: TTD) soared 123.8% in 2019, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, smashing the S&P 500's 29% gain.

So what

The programmatic advertising leader started the year strong, rising nearly 23% in January as multiple analysts offered their own prescient takes on The Trade Desk's impending strength ahead of its fourth-quarter update in February.

Sure enough, the high-flying growth stock then roared another 38% higher in February as those results arrived far above even the most optimistic of analysts' models. The Trade Desk's quarterly revenue grew 56% year over year, to $160.5 million -- with broad-based growth across each of its mobile, connected TV, and audio channels -- while adjusted net income more than doubled in the process.


Interestingly enough, shares initially pulled back despite two successive stronger-than-expected quarterly reports in May and August. But each time, the stock resumed its rise in relatively short order, culminating in yet another exceptional (third-quarter) report in early November.

That said, The Trade Desk's revenue growth has undeniably decelerated since the start of the year, climbing 38% in Q3 as the company builds on a larger base. But within that total, management noted its budding connected TV and audio verticals (up 145% and 160%, respectively) have served to bolster slower growth from The Trade Desk's more established lines.

Now what

It also helps that The Trade Desk is expected to benefit from new sources for incremental revenue growth as more streaming video platforms come to market. That includes the wildly successful November launch of Walt Disney's Disney+, which could spur new business for The Trade Desk as consumers flock to bundled options that include the House of Mouse's ESPN+ service and ad-supported versions of Hulu.

For now, investors will need to wait until next month to see how well The Trade Desk has capitalized on these recent trends, particularly as it works to continue outgrowing its peers in the budding programmatic ad market. But let it suffice to say I think shareholders should be more than pleased with its performance in the meantime.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends The Trade Desk and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney and short April 2020 $135 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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