The Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) share price certainly knows how to keep investors guessing. This buy now, pay later (BNPL) pioneer has had one of the most intense rollercoaster rides of any company on the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) over the past 18 months or so. To illustrate, let’s go back to February 2020, just prior to the onset of the global pandemic.
In February 2020, Afterpay was riding high at its (then) all-time high of around $38 per share. Following the February/March market crash, things turned very bad, very fast. The Afterpay share price dropped like a stone, falling as low as $8 by the market bottom on 23 March. That was a fall of more than 70%.
But Afterpay subsequently recovered even faster. By early May, it was back to its pre-COVID levels, and by August, it had doubled them.
The revelation that e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings had taken a 5% stake in Afterpay was the real catalyst here. But it also helped that a predicted recession-induced wave of BNPL defaults had failed to materialise.
The company continued to post record growth numbers across the United States and United Kingdom markets, and by February 2021, Afterpay had reached an all-time high of $160.05 per share. Yep, in under a year, this company may have given some investors a return of more than 1,800%. Yikes.
But that was then, and this is now. There’s no point in crying over spilled shares. So where to for Afterpay shares in July 2021? The company’s shares closed at $104.43 apiece yesterday, a good 35% from their February all-time high.
Afterpay share price: buy now and get paid later?
One broker who is bullish on Afterpay shares from here is Morgan Stanley. As my Fool colleague James covered last week, Morgan Stanley currently rates Afterpay shares as ‘overweight’, with a 12-month share price target of $145 for the BNPL company. The broker is reportedly bullish on the company’s new Money by Afterpay app, which it believes has the potential to double its Australian revenues.
It’s not just Morgan Stanley either. My fellow Fool colleague Brendon has also recently discussed broker Macquarie‘s ‘buy’ rating on Afterpay as well.
At Afterpay’s closing share price of $104.43 yesterday, the company has a market capitalisation of $30.25 billion.