One investor’s underperformance concerns are another’s buying opportunity, and Canaccord analyst Michael Graham is steadfastly the latter. After attending two back-to-back weeks of investor meetings, the analyst has new bullish insight to share on the big F.A.N.G. four, the popular stock giants ruling the internet-verse: Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
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, five-star analyst Michael Graham is ranked #241 out of 4,243 analysts. Graham has a 52% success rate and earns 10.5% in his annual returns. When recommending FB, Graham earns 22.2% in average profits on the stock. When suggesting AMZN, Graham gains 7.3%. When rating NFLX, Graham realizes 27.5%. When advising GOOGL, Graham yields 15.0%.
Let’s take a closer look:
Facebook’s Dipping Ad Growth Offset by User Growth and Engagement
Graham expressed that “sentiment had been lagging,” pointing to Facebook management commentary on the second-quarter and third-quarter calls signaling a decreasing ad load. The analyst contends that recent “snafus regarding miscalculated metrics” will not significantly impact Facebook as he believes billing ultimately did not take a hit from these “miscues.”
Graham notes, “Some are cautious around 2017 expense guidance. Initial guidance for expense growth has caused the stock to sell off in each of the last three years. Focus on GAAP EPS is a stock headwind, but most find the valuation still reasonable.”
Additionally, the analyst commends the social media giant’s odds against its competitors, asserting, “Our ad industry checks also suggest that advertisers’ regard remains high for Facebook and Instagram which means these platforms should continue to attract ad dollars and gain share from some other competitors (i.e. Twitter) and other media (i.e. TV).”
“The company continues to fire on all cylinders, posting impressive user growth and engagement rates despite its scale,” Graham concludes.
Therefore, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on FB with a price target of $150, which represents a close to 26% upside from where the stock is currently trading.
TipRanks analytics exhibit FB as a Strong Buy. Out of 37 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 34 are bullish on Facebook stock, while 3 remain sidelined. With a return potential of 32%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $158.23.
Amazon “Prime Flywheel” the X Factor in the Face of a Price War
From Graham’s eyes, when it comes to Amazon, eCommerce revenue growth has been “taken for granted,” especially throughout this year, where throughout international and domestic spheres, growth has steadily surged over 26%. The explosion of Amazon Prime, with 350 million customer accounts, has become a significant source of growth for the online retail giant.
Underscoring the importance of Amazon Prime, the analyst explains, “Management commentary has centered on the ‘Prime Flywheel’ which involves even faster, free shipping and a variety of other services (“free shipping with Netflix and Spotify thrown in for free…”). […] We believe Prime is the lens through which Amazon management is viewing the company’s opportunity.”
However, Graham warns that the most “palpable risk” to Amazon would be price competition. Furthermore, the analyst adds that last month revealed more pricing reduction than usual, specifying, “A larger concern is AWS, which laps difficult growth comps and has had several price cuts in November. Q1 guidance will likely be impacted; most are viewing any potential weakness as a buying opportunity.”
Looking ahead, Graham surmises, “There is a chance that results in Q1/17 and Q2/17 could be impacted, though not quite to the extent that Q2/14 and Q3/14 were impacted by that round of price cuts.”
The analyst reiterates a Buy rating on AMZN with a price target of $875, which marks a 14% increase from where the stock is currently trading.
TipRanks analytics demonstrate AMZN as a Strong Buy. Based on 35 analysts polled in the last 3 months by TipRanks, 33 rate a Buy on AMZN, while 2 maintain a Hold. The 12-month average price target stands at $948.63, marking a nearly 24% upside from where the stock is currently trading.
Two Reasons for Potential Netflix Growth: International Expansion and Shift in Content
With regards to Netflix, Graham believes potential in international markets and a more focused company strategy will yield positive long-term results. As such, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on shares of NFLX with a price target of $140, which represents an 11% upside from where the stock is currently trading.
Graham acknowledges, “Some view the valuation as untenable, and the stock likely has significant downside potential on any bad news. And, while we are bullish long term we believe Q1 guidance has potential to feel overly-conservative given a tough y/y comp. We believe management’s strategy centers on scaling original content to create a competitive moat; most investors are not there.”
Netflix’s international expansion kick-started in Canada back in 2010 and since its launch date has progressed rapidly. The analyst speculates that NFLX’s international expansion is only just beginning, emphasizing, “While the top international markets are at ~12% penetration, layering in newer mature markets and some of the larger emerging one shows that Netflix is still merely in mid-single digit penetration of the total addressable market.”
The analyst pinpoints a narrowing of company strategy to identify consumer preferences using viewing data. Netflix has shifted to focus to creating original content, which for Graham not only sets the streaming giant apart from its competitors but also has the added benefit of eliminating licensing costs.
Overall, Graham is optimistic about the future of Netflix, concluding, “We believe the library is becoming smaller, newer, more international, and increasingly self-produced.”
TipRanks analytics indicate NFLX as a Buy. Out of 35 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 19 are bullish on Netflix stock, 12 remain sidelined, and 4 are bearish on the stock. The stock’s consensus target price stands at $125.59.
Clear Skies for GOOGL as Websites Growth Soars
Google has been on a 40% surge that commenced in the summer of 2015, and Graham highlights the re-acceleration of Websites revenue growth as the key catalyst for this upswing. Confident on Alphabet’s Websites revenue growth gains, the analyst reiterates a Buy rating on GOOGL with a $925 price target, which implies an almost 14% increase from where the shares last closed.
“This important growth rate then stayed well above 20% so far this year, and this is an important psychological level for the stock. The likely key driver of this resurgence in growth has been essentially ad load on both mobile search and YouTube […], with the company adding a third mobile search ad unit that started gaining traction in Q2/15 but really hit its stride in Q3,” Graham opines.
The analyst is optimistic, as he believes all website growth roads lead to GOOGL’s success, even in the face of prospective challenges. For this reason, Graham cheers the tech giant, conveying, “Most are bullish on short-term fundamentals driven by mobile and YouTube. Lack of guidance is viewed favorably next to other FANG stocks that all have potential issues with Q1 and 2017 guidance. The major negative is gross margin degradation but most believe continued Websites growth can compensate.”
Moreover, the analyst brings attention to the past several quarters, where he boosted his revenue growth rates for Alphabet on back of “impressively sustained high websites revenue growth rates.”
In the past, Graham has discussed GOOGL’s transition from accelerated growth to a period of more gradual growth, drawing a present comparison to a similar example found in Microsoft’s growth arcs. For Microsoft, the analyst pinpoints a similar pattern of growth at a lesser speed “with still healthy multiples” that seems to emerge after a span of fast-track growth at high multiples for a decade to 15 years. Microsoft’s cycle markedly echoes the same rising and waning growth periods that the analyst detects for GOOGL.
Overall, “[…] we think there is room for multiple expansion to the average MSFT experienced during its slowing growth phase,” Graham contends.
TipRanks analytics indicate GOOGL as a Strong Buy. Out of 28 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 26 are bullish on Alphabet stock, 1 remains sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of 19%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $968.33.