Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Sandler provides his expectations on 2Q:16 earnings from internet giants Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). The analyst discusses his estimates for each as well as what lies ahead for the rest of 2016.
Ross Sandler is ranked #177 out of 4,064 analysts on TipRanks. He has a 62% success rate recommending stocks with an average return of 8.8% per recommendation.
Sandler discusses his views on Amazon’s 2Q earnings release, set for July 28, 2016. Overall, the analyst expresses strong confidence in Amazon’s business model, particularly its cloud platform, AWS.
According to the analyst’s checks throughout 2016, AWS demonstrated superiority in “product updates and expanding infrastructure” compared to other public cloud providers. The analyst also predicts growth of AWS usage in the financial services sector, moving from 25% of IT spend today to 20-30% in the next 3 years. Regarding the Brexit, the analyst claims that AWS experienced a “limited impact” but will continue to watch for trends. Sandler predicts AWS revenues for 2q of $2.8 billion, a 53% y/y growth, and notes that this may be a conservative estimate.
The analyst also predicts 2Q growth in Amazon’s retail sector due to recent investments in logistics as well as good execution. However, the analyst notes that 3Q CSOI may experience a slight slowdown due to growth investments such as its fleet of 40 planes to insource logistics, prime day discounts, India expansion, and Prime Now expansion.
Sandler provides his outlook for the rest of the year as well. He predicts continued AWS growth due to an increased focus on improving features, and “further penetration into key verticals.” The analyst predicts retail growth due to improving supply chain factors, a potential $1 Billion in revenue due to holiday Echo sales, and positive feedback on Amazon’s “connected home” efforts.
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on the company with a $900 price target. He explains, “After the strong outperformance recently, we think shares may be range-bound on 2Q results, but we remain bullish on the long-term opportunity and recommend adding to position on any weakness.”
According to TipRanks, out of all the analysts who have rated the company in the last 3 months, 91% gave a Buy rating while 9% remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $829.71, marking a 13% upside from where shares last closed.
Sandler provides his expectations for Twitter’s 2Q earnings, set to release on July 26. Due to the “steady progress” throughout the quarter, the analyst hopes for in-line revenue of $606 million and slight MAU growth. The analyst points to Twitter’s efforts to increase its users through product updates, advertising growth, and video content promotion. He explains, “We continue to see small product tweaks which tend to help user engagement and retention.”
According to the analyst’s quarterly checks, O&O revenue has remained “stable” throughout 2Q with an increasing focus on video. Additionally, the company has displayed better h\expected growth in TAP as well as DR advertising, which should serve as a catalyst later this year due to the Google integration.
Despite slight MAU growth, the analyst notes that Twitter must do more to generate meaningful growth. He explains, “The many product revisions shipped in 1H are having a small positive impact on engagement, but we don’t see MAU increasing meaningfully without major product changes or new ideas.” However, he reassures investors that Twitter is on the right path to growth. He states, “Many investors believe that Twitter usage and engagement is declining, and that’s simply not accurate.”
The analyst believes that Twitter will benefit from upcoming events such as the NFL partnership and the Olympics which should contribute to 2H growth. However, he notes that consensus revenue estimate for 3Q are 5-10% too high due to “mis-modeled” organic growth. While the company may experience some short term challenges, Sandler believes Twitter “remains in turn around mode” despite investor uneasiness. In fact, the analyst believes “the recent string of miss and lower” metrics will end after 2Q, representing a compelling risk-reward ratio.
Sandler believes that current share prices are range bound as they factor in risks. However, the analyst does not predict any meaningful growth resulting from earnings due to continuously lowered street estimates.
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares with a $23 price target.
According to TipRanks’ statistics, out of all the analysts who have rated Twitter in the last 3 months, 31% are bullish, 14% are bearish, and 55% remain on the sidelines. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $18.84, marking a 1% upside from where shares last closed.
Sandler provides his predictions for Google’s 2Q earnings report, set to release on July 28. The analyst predicts better than expected earnings of $15.1 billion for the quarter compared to $15 billion consensus due to “stable” trends from his firm’s quarterly checks, as well as SEM agencies in the UK which point to “limited risk to 2H estimates from Brexit.” According to Sandler, Google should experience near term growth due to product improvements. He explains, “The company continues to introduce a number of visible (and less known) tweaks to core search, which should help sustain growth in the near term.”
Sandler addresses investor concern regarding TAC (traffic acquisition costs), believing they are temporary and “overblown”, and pointing to a stable 2 year growth rate since 4Q15. Going forewarned, the analyst believes the company’s growth momentum should increase “now that Google is over the 50% threshold in mobile.” Specifically, the analyst highlights a “decent probability” of above consensus Sites revenue for the quarter.
The analyst believes the company will capitalize on machine learning near term and highlights a compelling entry point for shares. He explains, “Stepping back from Search, we think the investment community will start to see the massive opportunity that machine learning and AI are likely to bring Google in the next 12-18 months, and we want to use current negative sentiment periods to add to positions ahead of that.”
The analyst reiterates his Buy rating on shares with a $1,100 price target.
According to TipRanks, all 34 analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months are bullish. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $913.16, marking a 21% upside from where shares last closed.
Sandler also weighed in on Facebook ahead of its 2Q earnings release on July 27. According to the analyst’s checks throughout the quarter, the analyst “heard mostly bullish feedback.” Additionally, Sandler notes that the Brexit did not negatively affect the company or its mobile advertising. The analyst addresses concerns regarding falling engagement trends of Facebook and Instagram, believing they are “overblown,” highlighting Instagram’s increasing ads. In fact, the analyst points out that and increasing number of notable brands use FB tracking pixels and new ad products every quarter, “which allows FB to capture more uncapped budgets outside of mobile-first categories like gaming.”
The analyst provides his ad revenue, EBITDA, and EPS estimates of $5.84 billion, $3.87 million, and $0.85, respectively, crediting lower than expected R+D growth mixed with COGS from Oculus. According to the analyst’s checks, the company shipped 100k Oculus units YTD, way above the analyst’s expectations, which should contribute a 70bps to margins.
Sandler addresses investor concern of a 2016 peak for the company. He believes Facebook still has room for growth, identifying Facebook’s new Messenger assistant and WhatsApp as catalysts. The analyst is also impressed with the company’s management and firmly believes in their innovation potential. He explains, “There should be optionality around future innovation that the investment community is unaware of today.” While Sandler acknowledges a slowdown in the past 3-6, he believes this is only temporary and represents a compelling entry point for shares.
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares with a $160 price target.
According to TipRanks, out of all that analysts who have rated the company in the past 3 months, 95% gave a Buy rating while 5% remain neutral. The average 12-month price target for the stock is $147.71, marking a 24% upside from where shares last closed.