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3 reasons Upwork is about to rally 30%

Upwork stock price outlook

It's been a remarkable couple of weeks for equities, no doubt about it. The broad rally that started at the end of October has already sent many stocks to all-time highs, and as we head into 2024, the benchmark S&P 500 index is on the verge of doing the same. So, with most stocks trending upwards and showing little signs of slowing down, it's not all that surprising that investors might be struggling to find the best of the bunch and the ones that should outperform their peers.

One easy way to sort through the noise is to rely on analyst comments and upgrades. With that in mind, let's take a look at a tech stock that just got its first upgrade in months. Upwork Inc (NASDAQ: UPWK) is a San Francisco-based company with a market cap of $2 billion. They provide a platform and marketplace for freelancers around the world to connect with short- to medium-term employers. 

Looking at the chart of Upwork over the long term, it doesn't appear all that attractive. A 1,000% rally during the pandemic was completely reversed in a monumental 90% slide that only bottomed out last May. But investors are a forward-thinking bunch and will be inclined to focus on the fact that since then, Upwork shares have rallied almost 150%. And the good news for our readers? There's more where that came from. 

Bullish upgrade

Yesterday's 11% pop came off the back of a fresh upgrade from the team over at Jefferies, who boosted their rating on the stock from a Hold to a Buy. In a note to clients, analyst Brent Thill shared his expectations for accelerated revenue growth throughout 2024, as Upwork's freelance-marketplace business model benefits from a stabilizing economy and improved business confidence. 

Alongside the upgrade came a boost to his price target on Upwork shares. With the improved outlook, he's now looking for them to hit $20 in the coming weeks, which would see the stock rallying at least 30% from where it closed on Monday night. While no one's expecting Upwork shares to reclaim their 2021 highs anytime soon, were they to hit $20 in the coming weeks, it would mean they'd set a new 52-week high, and the rally that started last May would be looking even stronger. 

Strengthening fundamentals 

While it would have been ideal to have bought into the Upwork recovery story six months ago, this is also a good time to consider an entry. Shortly before the holiday season kicked off, Upwork's management boosted their forward guidance on full-year revenue as part of a broader bullish update. The most recent earnings report had revenue at an all-time high while operating income was positive for the first time since 2020 and above $1 million for the first time ever. 

The company's expenses are continuing to fall while it's getting closer and closer to posting a consistent profit. Next month's earnings report will be closely watched to see if Upwork can land a second consecutive EPS number in the black for the first time. Assuming it can, then Jefferies' $20 price target becomes even more achievable.  

Impressive technical setup

Beyond the fundamentals continuing to improve and analysts getting excited about its prospects, shares of Upwork also have a strong technical setup supporting the current phase of the rally. While the stock managed to set a high before Christmas, it spent the first few sessions of 2024 cooling as some equities, in general, saw some profit-taking. But already, it's popping back towards those highs, and as a result of the recent dip, its Relative Strength Index (RSI) remains bullish. 

The RSI is a decent indicator to use in order to gauge if a stock is overbought or oversold, and at 63, Upwork's RSI suggests not only is the momentum all on the side of the bull's but there's a ton of room left to run before anyone could call shares overbought. 

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