Analysts weigh in on social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and e-commerce leader Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). While one analyst believes that Facebook’s platform remains robust with multiple growth layers, the other believes Amazon’s efforts to save shipping costs represent catalysts for the company going forward.
Axiom analyst Victor Anthony was out pounding the table on Facebook Monday, reiterating a Buy rating on the stock, while raising the price target to $150 from $145.
The analyst has only positive things to say about the social media giant, stating that the company is a “solid platform with multiple growth layers.” Anthony believes the stock “should be assigned premium multiples” due to its various segments including “efforts with… live video, Messenger, Instagram, Oculus, and WhatsApp.” The analyst notes a “clearly defined” 5 year plan for the company with each segment, including Graph Search monetization and the China optionality, driving growth every year until 2020.
The analyst goes further into detail regarding advertisements, noting that the company gained its last 1 million advertisers “in half the time it took to add the previous 1m advertisers.” He adds that “video ads are likely to be the largest driver of core results this year.” After stating various growth metrics for each segment of the company, he specifically points to WhatsApp, stating that “Facebook is likely to look into monetization options post the 1B user mark, which WhatsApp should surpass this year.”
As a result of success from each segment of the company, the analyst is increasing his revenue and EBITDA estimates through 2018. However, risks to his bullish view include competition in terms of online ad dollars from other social media cites, failure of its segments to “live up to expectations”, increased expenses, long term opportunities “(failing) to materialize,” and macroeconomic issues.
According to TipRanks, Victor Anthony has a 57% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 10% per recommendation. Out of the 35 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 31 gave a Buy rating, 1 gave a Sell rating, and 3 remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $134.64, marking a 16% success rate from where shares last closed.
Top analyst Youssef Squali of Cantor commented on Amazon following recent operational changes. The analyst highlights various initiatives taken by the company to minimize shipping costs and explains the upside potential of such moves.
The analyst notes that Amazon had $11.5 billion shipping costs for 2015, representing its third largest expense. In fact, shipping costs in 2015 grew at a faster rate than total retail sales. However, Squali notes “both a challenge and an opportunity”, as net shipping costs accounted for 5% of the company’s retail revenue in 2015, a 100 bps increase (4%) from 2010 despite increased Prime membership fees and higher free shipping minimums.
In order to keep shipping costs at bay, the company increased the free shipping minimum order amount for non-Prime members from $35 to $49 in February. Squali believes the company made the right decision, explaining, “In addition to incremental shipping revenue, we believe this move should also drive growth in Prime membership and FBA for Amazon and positively impact gross margins.”
In further efforts to contain shipping costs, the company partnered with ATSG last month to lease 20 Boeing 767 planes as part of its air cargo network, which will result in “great control over its distribution.” Squali explains, “This should allow it to expand coverage of 2-day shipping, increase sales, and boost Prime’s proposition…” Additional advantages include the avoidance of inventory and shipping challenges, as the planes give the company “greater control over inventory mgt and shipping during the all-important peak Holiday season, when shippers have capacity constraints.” Furthermore, the analyst mentions that “while this move falls short of bringing most shipping needs in-house,” the company has the option to acquire a 20% stake in ATSG, which may result in “better negotiating leverage” with shipping companies.
Finally, the analyst notes Amazon’s recent purchase of thousands of trailers, which according to him constitutes “a push to improve operational efficiency (higher speed/lower costs).” He explains, “Readily available trailers on site to ferry goods between fulfillment and sortation centers should speed up loading and lead to faster turnaround for the haulers, helping lower trucking costs.”
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on the company with a $750 price target on the company.
Youssef Squali is ranked #11 out of 3,844 analysts on TipRanks. He has a 65% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 14.8% per recommendation. Out of the 36 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 32 gave a Buy rating while 4 remain neutral. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $750.16, marking a 26% upside from current levels.