Meet Wall Street's rising stars of equity research, the ones to watch as the stock market faces one of its biggest challenges yet
May 22, 2023
Robert Mollins, 32, Gordon Haskett
Last October, Robert Mollins saw several trends moving in favor of the ride-sharing app Lyft — growing driver supply, higher ride-conversion rates, and employees returning to offices — so he upgraded the stock to a buy. It surged 54% until early February, beating the S&P 500's 15% during the same period.
Then, on February 6 this year, he saw the company charging higher prices than Uber and believed rider expectations were too high, and downgraded the company to a hold. Later that week, when earnings came out, the stock plummeted. Since February 7, its share price has more than halved in value to $8.34.
Those are the types of calls that have elevated Mollins to the director of internet research at Gordon Haskett. He's currently the sole analyst for the firm on 11 stocks, including Airbnb, Uber, Doordash, Redfin, Zillow, and more.
Mollins said the most important factor for success in equity research was differentiating coverage from other analysts, a lesson he learned from an old boss.
"He said something to me that I'll always remember: 'Why should people read this report, and what makes it differentiated?' And I never forget that feedback, and I'll always ask myself that every time I write a report," he said.
In his coverage of Lyft and Uber, for example, Mollins said he had started collecting weekly data on wait times and pricing in cities around the US. The data has matched closely with data reported by the companies in earnings calls, Mollins said.
"Every week, I'm actually going through the app and pulling in the data for it," Mollins said. "If you can do something like that, you can actually create a nice little niche for yourself in the industry."