Analysts are weighing in on two of the most popular stocks, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). While one analyst highlights positive and steady trends on Facebook intra-quarter, the other sets expectations ahead of Apple’s iPhone 7 launch. Let’s take a closer look.
On Tuesday, William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart met with a private company executive who in addition to purchasing advertising from other digital platforms on behalf of clients, specifically buys ad space on Facebook.
After receiving the industry participant’s positive feedback noting steady trends as of intra-quarter, Schackart reiterates an Outperform rating on shares of FB, which are currently trading at about $126, a 20% year-to-date jump.
“In the near term, we believe shares could trade up closer to their historical average of about 18 times EBITDA, implying upside of about $20-$25 based on our 2017 EBITDA estimate,” he believes.
As far as the industry executive assesses based on her clients, though no “blow out” quarters await for the social media giant, she also does not foresee any negative client spending or negative FB performance trends. From her feedback, FB has plenty of opportunity to improve on ad pricing and performance, with both areas riding upward swings of momentum.
Though it is still early, the executive sees solid potential with Instagram for amplifying FB’s supply growth, and thinks Messenger could lead to payment integration opportunities.
The analyst concludes, “We believe new products could provide 2017 EBITDA estimate revisions of 10% or more. For example, video ads are reaching an inflection point in 2016; Instagram could become more incremental to overall Facebook spending in the next 12 months; and continued user growth and CPM improvements internationally could all drive estimates higher, in our view. Moreover, we continue to see at least $1 upside to 2018 Street EPS estimates from video ads on Facebook and Instagram. We believe Facebook shares could be a primary way for investors to play the online/mobile video trends that we highlighted in our recent Industry Report.”
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, analyst Ralph Schackart is ranked #444 out of 4,132 analysts. Schackart has a 63% success rate and realizes 11.5% in his yearly returns. When recommending FB, Schackart garners 40.9% in average profits on the stock.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate FB as a Strong Buy. Based on 35 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 30 rate a Buy on FB, while 5 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $155.30, marking a 23% upside from where the shares last closed.
All eyes are on Apple as it prepares to introduce its highly anticipated iPhone 7/7 Plus at its event next Wednesday, September 7th in California, with rumored, enhanced features to include dual rear cameras for the Plus, a better camera for the iPhone 7, an accelerated A10 application processor, bigger battery, upgraded memory and storage, and possibly even waterproofing capabilities.
Considering the tech giant’s stock usually benefits from a publicity boost around launch events, Merrill Lynch analyst Wamsi Mohan reiterates a Buy rating on shares of AAPL with a price target of $120, which represents a 12% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
From Mohan’s perspective, “Low expectations sets the stage for Apple to beat” and he predicts software will be a key driver for upgrades, as old processors will suffer from weak speed when trying to run iOS 10 programming. Additionally, Mohan looks forward to “longer-term optionality of a large cash balance and share gains” for the giant.
Mohan concludes, “Apple continues to trade at a low P/E of 11x C17 EPS as investors worry about the possibility of a weak iPhone 7 cycle. We consider a bear case scenario (Figure 4) of 190mn iPhones in F17 (vs. current Street estimate of 221mn) assuming a lower upgrade rate from the installed base. However, in our opinion, this would just set up a stronger iPhone 8 cycle (267mn units vs. current Street estimate of 240mn). We expect iPhone sales to remain in line in the next few quarters after the iPhone 7 launch and do not anticipate near-term negative revisions. Any risk pertaining to the Mar and June quarters could be offset by the impending iPhone 8 launch in fall 2017.”
According to TipRanks, four-star analyst Wamsi Mohan is ranked #1,094 out of 4,132 analysts. Mohan has a 58% success rate and realizes 3.7% in his yearly returns. When recommending AAPL, Mohan earns 0.7% in average profits on the stock.
Out of the 35 analysts polled by TipRanks (in the past 3 months), 31 rate Apple stock a Buy, 3 rate the stock a Hold and 1 recommends to Sell. With a return potential of nearly 18%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $126.39.