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Shopify stock heads for new record as excitement builds for Unite conference

By Emily Bary

Analyst says June 29 conference may bring announcement of ad-related offering

Shopify Inc. shares are rising toward a new record high as enthusiasm builds for the e-commerce powerhouse ahead of its annual developer conference.

Shares of Shopify (SHOP.T) are up 3.8% in Monday trading to a recent $1,523, putting the stock on pace to finish the day above its February record-high closing price of $1,474. The stock is up for the eighth straight trading day, which would mark its longest winning streak since the eight-session period that ended June 23, 2020.

Shopify is about a week away from its annual Shopify Unite developer conference, which promises "a first look at new products and features" on June 29.

Guggenheim analyst Ken Wong notes that some Shopify partners have suggested that the company has plans for an "audience network," which could open the company up to advertising opportunities.

"We do not expect Shopify to monetize merchants directly, with preliminary details indicating 'free access to high-intent audiences,' which suggests that the company is not likely to serve as an exchange selling ad inventory to merchants," Wong wrote in a note to clients. "We believe monetization is more likely to materialize in the form of Shopify giving publishers access to the advertising budgets of their participating merchants."

He called advertising "a significant potential new opportunity that will likely be viewed favorably by investors" and said that the upcoming Unite conference is "a possible reveal date."

Shopify didn't immediately reply to MarketWatch's request for comment on plans for an audience network or the timing of a potential launch.

The company has made a number of recent moves to tap new opportunities, including by rolling out its installment-pay offering (link) to a broad base of merchants through a partnership with Affirm Holdings Inc. (AFRM) It also intends to make its payments platform available to more than just Shopify sellers (link), with plans to launch the option for Facebook Inc.'s (FB) core platform as well as Instagram this summer, and plans to expand to Alphabet Inc.'s (GOOGL)(GOOGL) Google later this year.

-Emily Bary; 415-439-6400;


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

06-21-21 1257ET

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