Facebook Inc (FB) Investor Concerns Are Likely Overblown: Top Analyst

Baird top analyst Colin Sebastian provides commentary on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) on the heels of discussions with worried investors who question the social media giant’s ability to maintain a swing of upward momentum in an atmosphere of rising rivalry and challenges with user engagement. However, from Sebastian’s perspective, the public should rest assured, as he remains confident in FB’s leading position.

As such, Sebastian reiterates an Outperform rating on FB with a price target of $155, which represents just under a 23% increase from where the shares last closed.

While consensus has had a less-than-thrilled reaction to the giant’s ad load and its need to moderate growth, the analyst sees this as “short-sighted,” as the evaluation dismisses prospective advantages obtained from higher pricing, ad quality/relevance to which Sebastian highlights a “higher click-through-rate,” as well as mix of video. Furthermore, in monitoring ad loads, FB can ease a concern of user engagement, as this will “maintain high levels.”

In regards to his expectation for greater stability on FB’s engagement front moving forward, Sebastian believes, “With respect to competition from Snapchat, we believe it is too simplistic to believe that Snapchat’s success comes at the expense of Facebook/Instagram. This reminds us of a one-time flawed view that Facebook’s revenue growth would come at the expense of Google.”

“In recent weeks, our conversations with investors suggest lingering concerns related to competition, declining engagement, ad load, and tough growth comparisons. Despite shares still trading near all-time highs, we believe these concerns in aggregate are likely overblown, and we remain positive on shares as we believe Facebook remains well positioned to aggregate a disproportionate share of advertising budgets for years to come,” he concludes.

Particularly considering Instagram, early in its rise for monetization and revenue, as well as the possibilities that lie with Messenger and WhatsApp, Sebastian anticipates the giant is well within reach of “2017 top-line growth targets.”

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, top five-star analyst Colin Sebastian has achieved a high ranking of #8 out of 4,147 analysts. Sebastian upholds a 78% success rate and yields 19.3% in his annual returns. When recommending FB, Sebastian realizes 26.0% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit 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 nearly 23% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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