Top Axiom Analyst Bullish on Facebook Inc (FB) Ahead of 2Q16 Results

With expected financial second quarter results to be reported for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) today, after market close, Axiom analyst Victor Anthony reiterates a Buy with a price target of $150, an almost 23% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Currently, Anthony forecasts $6.087 billion in revenue, just under the Street’s expectation of $6.009 billion, and $0.83 in earnings per share, slightly above the Street’s guidance for $0.82.

Anthony notes SnapChat’s rising success might impinge upon Facebook’s results, specifically with Facebook’s acquisition Instagram in mind. While Anthony acknowledges clear growth for SnapChat usage, to date, there is not data showing that negatively impacting Facebook or Instagram usage. Meanwhile advertisers still continue to invest in Instagram as a medium.

A key concern investors pose on FB stock lies in 365% in share appreciation over the past three years. While investors question whether risk-reward is still favorable, Anthony reassures that “despite the impressive share price performance, the shares are still cheap.”

So far, Anthony’s checks during Facebook’s first quarter have proved to be solid. Advertisers’ returns on this investment have even increased, with usage for video advertising seeing a surge in growth. Considering advertisers are still enthusiastic to use Facebook as a platform and none having demonstrated a shift away from spending, Anthony contends, “We believe that results are likely to come in ahead of consensus, although it is difficult to predict the magnitude of the beat.”

True, comp sales have seen their challenges during this second fiscal quarter. But with Instagram and the bolstered support of video advertising, Anthony predicts these will offset comp obstacles. Last, Anthony eases investor concerns, as he does not find it likely for Facebook to increase or decrease its current guidance of 45 to 55% for expenses.

The analyst strongly affirms, “We have recommended FB since the shares traded at $19 and continue to do so today. While we won’t fault investors who trim positions, we remain in the bull camp given the secular growth opportunity, optionality at Messenger, WhatsApp, and Oculus and others to come in the future, such as payments and search, all at reasonable multiples adjusted for expected 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, Axiom analyst Victor Anthony is a five-star rated analyst, having earned a ranking of #42 out of 4,083 analysts. Anthony upholds a success rate of 68%, averaging 14% in profit for his annual returns.

TipRanks analytics exhibit FB as a Strong Buy. Out of 39 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 37 of the 39 rate a Buy, with the 2 remaining maintaining a Hold. The average price target is $147.72, marking an approximate 22% upside from where the shares last closed.

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