With Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares shooting 18% year-to-date and trading just under $128, the social media giant’s most recent “all-time high,” J.P. Morgan top analyst Doug Anmuth is out with positive commentary on FB growth. Anmuth sees no end in sight for FB accelerating growth, subsequently reiterating a Buy rating with a $170 price target, which represents a close to 38% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
Though Anmuth squares away five concerns investors cite as reasons of muted enthusiasm toward the company, from mega cap growth deceleration and multiple compression, slowing ad load growth, engagement, Snapchat, which Anmuth calls the “shiny new object” complex, and current peak profitability levels, the analyst disagrees with negative naysayers.
First, Anmuth discusses investors pessimistic on the giant’s decelerating mega cap growth with fears of multiple compression calling into question its valuation. Though other slowing mega cap companies have experienced multiple compression, the analyst does not expect Facebook to fall into the same pattern. Anmuth predicts that as FB’s ad ecosystem becomes increasingly significant, particularly underscoring marketing spending, revenue will “decelerate at a measured pace.”
Second, investors fear ad load, a caution FB management has addressed prior to second-quarter. Yet, the analyst recognizes room for growth, calling it a “moving target” that hinges upon FB enhancing ad targeting. Even so, Anmuth highlights that Instagram’s ad load still lags behind, which places FB’s growth in clearer perspective.
Third, even in light of slight quarter drops in engagement, Anmuth emphasizes not only does FB twice outclass fellow social media titans Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and others, but the giant’s U.S. mobile internet time takes a victorious double lap around the combined time of every rival in the room. Anmuth has every expectation for FB to continue its innovative reign.
Fourth, enter investors calling Snapchat the new cool kid at the social media table. Yet, Anmuth points to FB as still holding onto almost double the reach within the under 25 year-old demographic compared to Snapchat, quelling any remaining concerns as to whether Snapchat stands to undo FB in engagement, “let alone ad revenue.”
Fifth, the last main concern circling in the air lies with worries Zuckerberg’s giant will overstep spending, which Anmuth finds “disciplined,” or that it might drag profitable margins by shifting to less profitable areas. It is a concern Anmuth does not find consequential, dismissing it as he believes FB is well-positioned for future growth as it continues to invest “aggressively” and strategically.
Anmuth contends, “[…] we continue to believe Facebook will have sustainably strong growth—meaning managed deceleration—driven by further core News Feed gains, video, Instagram, & other new ad products, w/Messenger, WhatsApp, & Oculus as future drivers. We estimate FB has ~4.4% share of global advertising, & we think there is considerable room ahead. Our 2017/2018 estimates are 3% / 6% above consensus for revenue & 11% / 16% above for non-GAAP EPS. We also point out that Facebook trades at only 22.0x our above-consensus 2017E non-GAAP EPS, just 2.5 turns ahead of Alphabet (which we also like) at 19.5x despite FB’s significantly faster growth.”
As usual, we like to include the analyst’s track record when reporting on new analyst notes to give a perspective on the effect it has on stock performance. According to TipRanks, top five-star analyst Doug Anmuth has achieved a high ranking of #23 out of 4,124 analysts. Anmuth upholds a 67% success rate, realizing 19.2% in his annual returns. When recommending FB, Anmuth earns 57.7% in his average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics exhibit FB as a Strong Buy. Based on 35 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 30 rate a buy on Facebook, while 5 maintain a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $155.44, marking a 26% upside from where the shares last closed.
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