BTIG Mixed on Tech Giants Facebook Inc (FB), Paypal Holdings Inc (PYPL); Here’s Why

BTIG analysts are weighing in with contrasting viewpoints on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL). Whereas one analyst stands by his decision to remain cautious on Facebook amid its delay in realizing video tab monetization, another analyst is positive on Paypal ahead of its third-quarter results. Let’s take a closer look:

Facebook Inc

Back at the end of July, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield had downgraded Facebook to a Neutral. However, the analyst now believes his forecasts were “clearly too conservative given how much Facebook crushed our and consensus Q2 2016 expectations. In turn, we have meaningfully revised upward our estimates […]”

For now, the analyst remains sidelined on the social media giant, reiterating a Neutral rating on shares of FB without listing a price target.

Mainly, Greenfield’s concerns are rooted in what he deems “Facebook’s video tab monetization problem,” explaining the downgrade resulted from when he first realized the video tab rollout was facing a delay, considering that “the growth of video monetization was expected to be a key driver of growth in 2017.” However, though FB rolled out its new Marketplace app recently, a video tab has yet to be seen.

From the analyst’s perspective, “While significantly increased time spent on Facebook would appear to be a very good problem for Facebook to have – we sense Facebook is struggling with how to monetize video within a dedicated tab at levels at/above where it monetizes today in newsfeed.”

For the year 2016, Greenfield projects revenue of $27.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $17.2 billion, both of which respectively mirror consensus estimates. By 2017, Greenfield expects FB will produce $36.0 billion in revenue, just under consensus of $36.5 billion, and adjusted EBITDA of $22.3 billion, below consensus of $22.7 billion. Looking ahead to 2018, the analyst forecasts revenue of $45.1 billion, under the Street’s projection of $46.9 billion, and adjusted EBITDA of $28.3 billion, beneath the Street’s expectation of $30.1 billion.

Though the analyst finds the company’s valuation reasonably priced when considering its sustained, stellar growth rate, he believes if the Street’s expectations decline in the next year, it will be a greater hurdle for the multiple to expand.

“While FB’s valuation is not stretched, we believe consensus growth expectations are aggressive for 2017 and beyond,” Greenfield contends.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, four-star analyst Richard Greenfield is ranked #675 out of 4,180 analysts. Greenfield has a 62% success rate and garners 9.1% in his annual returns. However, when recommending FB, Greenfield loses 0.7% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit FB as a Strong Buy. Based on 36 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 31 rate a Buy on FB, while 5 maintain a Hold. The 12-month price target stands at $156.60, marking a nearly 23% upside from where the shares last closed.

Paypal Holdings Inc

Paypal is set to deliver its third-quarter earnings this week on October 21st. Ahead of the print, BTIG analyst Mark Palmer anticipates “continued rapid growth” for the online payment giant and therefore reiterates a Buy rating on PYPL with a price target of $48, which represents a nearly 22% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

For PYPL’s third quarter, Palmer projects EBITDA of $671 million and EPS of $0.35. Palmer estimates for PYPL’s fourth quarter, the company will hit EBITDA of $776 million and EPS of $0.42.

Palmer notes shares declined on July 22nd on the heels of PYPL’s announcement that it had partnered with Visa, which was “initially hailed by some as a gamechanger for PYPL that transformed a tenuous relationship with Visa into a solid one that provided cost certainty, removed the digital wallet fee, and created volume-based discounts while moving the company closer to its goal of ubiquity.”

Although at first glance this appeared to be a great strategic alliance for PYPL, investors soon soured on the idea of the deal when financial details were not disclosed. In turn, investor sentiment turned critical when realizing transaction margins faced an adverse impact once the “highly profitable” connection of Visa customers linking their PYPL accounts to their bank accounts through Automated Clearing House (ACH), an electronic network for financial transactions.

An agreement with MasterCard soon followed the Visa deal, with investors left questioning the margin impact further. Nonetheless, the analyst remains bullish on PYPL amid questions of the financial consequences of these deals.

“While the 3Q16 report that PYPL is set to release later this week represents the latest test of the sustainability of its business model in the face of competitive threats in the payments space, it also offers the company an opportunity to shed more light on a couple of items investors have been trying to gauge: the financial implications of PYPL’s recent partnerships with Visa (V, Not Rated) and MasterCard (MA, Not Rated), and the status of its efforts to monetize Venmo, its peer-to-peer payment app,” Palmer concludes.

As usual, we recommend taking analyst notes with a grain of salt. According to TipRanks, analyst Mark Palmer is ranked #3,864 out of 4,180 analysts. Palmer has a 48% success rate and faces a loss of 3.3% in his yearly returns. However, when recommending PYPL, Palmer gains 11.3% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics demonstrate PYPL as a Buy. Based on 27 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 16 rate a Buy on PYPL, 9 maintain a Hold, while 2 issue a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $45.18, marking a 14% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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