This Top Analyst Mixed on Internet Titans Facebook Inc (FB) and eBay Inc (EBAY)

Piper Jaffray top analyst Gene Munster is providing mixed perspectives on two leading giants, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and eBay Inc (EBAY), on the heels of his Fall 2016 Taking Stock with Teens Survey, polling over 10,000 teens in the U.S. Though Facebook’s engagement has declined, the analyst remains positive on its long-term prospects, while remaining sidelined on eBay as the company’s mindshare “bottoms out.”

Munster has a very good TipRanks score with a 67% success rate and he stands at #6 out of 4,182 on the analyst leaderboard. When recommending FB, Munster realizes 39.0% in average profits on the stock. When rating EBAY, Munster yields 3.1% in average profits on the stock. Let’s take a closer look:

Facebook Inc

Though Munster’s Fall 2016 Teen Survey has signaled Facebook engagement is on a downturn, showing 52% of teens now compared to 60% back in the spring, the analyst remains bullish on the social media giant and reiterates an Overweight rating on the stock with a $185 price target, which represents a close to 45% increase from where the stock is currently trading.

Munster has seen this developing for years now, with teens opting for different social media platforms as their “‘most important’ network” over FB, and believes that in his most recent Fall 2016 survey, “we finally saw the impact on total usage.”

“Factoring out shifts in the population surveyed, we believe core Facebook usage likely declined by ~3ppts, which indicates Facebook is gradually becoming less relevant vs. Instagram and Snapchat. Instagram is rising in conjunction with Snapchat, reinforcing our belief in a coexistent future. Moreover, we are seeing signs from teens indicating desire for engagement from brands on Instagram, which we believe will drive long-term monetization above core Facebook levels,” the analyst contends.

Overall, despite the engagement decline, Munster explains he remains positive overall, affirming, “While declining Facebook usage is a negative, we believe there is enough stability to drive long-term revenue growth as a standalone network.”

TipRanks analytics indicate FB as a Strong Buy. Based on 36 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 31 rate a Buy, 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.screen-shot-10-14-16-at-03-09-pm

eBay Inc

After Munster’s survey of over 10,000 teens, it is clear that eBay’s trend of losing its ability to capture mindshare has now “bottomed out,” with 3.5% mindshare that persisted throughout these past 18 months, and through three of Munster’s surveys. The key question the analyst asks is whether the online auction and e-commerce leader can rebound from this.

As such, Munster reiterates a Neutral rating on EBAY with a price target of $25, which represents just under a 21% downside from where the shares last closed.

As the analyst assesses this situation, this is not shocking. Munster explains, “This make sense in the context of core eBay’s no-growth position in the market, but given eBay’s emphasis on restructuring data to improve site performance and organic search, we would have expected some material uptick in mindshare during this survey as affirmation that these efforts are materializing. We continue to believe that eBay’s brand is impaired, making revitalization an uphill battle that requires more than restructuring data and user experience.”

“Should our Spring 2017 survey show no signs of improving mindshare, we would grow increasingly bearish on the relative contribution potential this has to driving growth,” the analyst concludes.

TipRanks analytics show EBAY as a Buy. Based on 24 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 10 rate a Buy on EBAY, 12 maintain a Hold, while 2 issue a Sell. The consensus price target stands at $32.02, marking a nearly 2% upside from where the stock is currently trading.screen-shot-10-14-16-at-03-10-pm


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