Analysts Mixed on Internet Giants Twitter Inc (TWTR) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL); Here’s Why

Analysts are chiming in on social media platform Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Google parent Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL). As investors deliberate the big merger and acquisition question weighing on everyone’s minds regarding Twitter, one analyst remains neutral and shares insights as to why. Meanwhile, on Alphabet’s end, a top analyst is bullish and boosts his price target ahead of third-quarter results. Let’s take a closer look:

Twitter Inc

Twitter continues to make the rumor mill rumble amid a “particularly volatile period” as investors hash out the social media titan’s prospects to be acquired- and if prospects are likely, when would a deal strike place?

Canaccord analyst Michael Graham joins the conversation, sidelined on where the company stands currently, but in regards to merger and acquisition “chatter,” he notes, “We still think a sale makes sense.” As such, the analyst reiterates a Hold rating on shares of TWTR with a $16 price target, which represents a nearly 9% downside from where the stock is currently trading.

“We will leave this banter to the media, although reiterate that we think the company would like to sell, and there should logically be interest. Meanwhile, we take a fresh look for any fundamental metrics we can monitor, and find them to be consistently modest. In particular, we believe TWTR is likely to have some MAU net adds in Q3, but possibly below our estimate. We can’t imagine the takeover talk is good for Twitter’s ad business (advertisers may grow increasingly wary), and neither is heightened competition from Snapchat and Facebook,” Graham concludes.

Though the analyst finds Thursday Night Football encouraging for TWTR, ultimately the company’s current “most important initiative” wields too minimal of an impact to change Graham’s overall thesis, particularly as competition from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat intensifies.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, five-star analyst Michael Graham is ranked #125 out of 4,184 analysts. Graham has a 58% success rate and garners 12.1% in his annual returns. When recommending TWTR, Graham loses 32.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics indicate TWTR as a Hold. Based on 33 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 5 rate a Buy on TWTR, 20 maintain a Hold, while 8 issue a Sell. The 12-month price target stands at $17.94, marking a 2% upside from where the shares last closed.

Alphabet Inc

Alphabet is anticipated to deliver third-quarter results October 27th. Ahead of earnings, Axiom top analyst Victor Anthony believes the tech titan’s print will either mirror the Street’s projections or “slightly” top estimates, based on “extensive” Google checks from iProspect, Merkel/RKG, IgnitionOne, Kenshoo, SMX Conference, and Advertising Week presentations. Additionally, Anthony has like-minded expectations for fourth-quarter.

Moreover, Anthony anticipates a “stronger” 2017 thanks to Alphabet’s ongoing search “innovations,” spend and pricing yielding a strong mobile search, and sustained “growth momentum” from YouTube. As such, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on GOOGL, while raising the price target from $990 to $1,000, which represents just under a 23% increase from where the shares last closed.

The analyst notes, “It is well understood that the Google segment is facing a tough comp due to the launch of the third search link on mobile in 3Q15.” Originally, Anthony was optimistic that Alphabet’s expanded text ads (ETAs) could have positively impacted somewhat of an offset in the company’s third-quarter to translate to a “more meaningful upside to estimates,” underscoring GOOGL’s forecast of a 20% boost in click-through rates (CTRs).

“However, the launch has not gone as planned due to lower advertiser uptake. However, other ad expansions, such as the fourth link on both desktop and mobile, greater advertiser adoption of PLAs, and increasing local ad monetization, should help with a partial offset. In addition, mobile search monetization should help as well, as evidenced by takeaways from the SEMs, who reported increasing mobile spend and higher mobile CPCs. YouTube’s growth momentum has continued and we expect strength from this asset to help with a partial offset to the tough Google Websites comp,” Anthony concludes.

The analyst projects net revenues of $17.925 billion with an 18.6% increase in year-over-year, as well as non-GAAP EPS of $8.65.

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 Victor Anthony has achieved a high ranking of #46 out of 4,184 analysts. Anthony upholds a 67% success rate and gains 14.5% in his yearly returns. When recommending GOOGL, Anthony earns 8.7% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate GOOGL as a Strong Buy. Based on 33 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 32 rate a Buy on GOOGL, while 1 issues a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $941.64, marking a nearly 16% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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