Where does Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) go from here?
The stock of the world’s largest social network, issued to investors at $38 apiece, had a tumultuous opening on the Nasdaq and then slid to a low of $25.52, as questions arose about its valuation, declining revenues and a perceived inability to monetize its mobile user base. The issue was seen as a major flop, and even accused of having prejudiced the IPO market for the near term.
The company declares its maiden quarterly result, after listing, on July 26. Meanwhile the 40-day post-issue quiet period has ended and the bruising fall in the stock seems to have helped analysts muster up the strength to issue positive recommendations thick and fast. The stock is now hovering in the $31 range.
Susquehanna International Group analyst Herman Leung feels the fall in the stock was precipitated due to excess dilution following an issue of too many shares, but is confident that the new supply would be gradually absorbed and the price could rebound to $48 following better revenues and optimization of expansion opportunities.
Social Internet Fund analyst Lou Kerner thinks the stock will eventually emerge from the shadows of the botched IPO process and better execution, margin expansion and revenue growth could act together to boost the price to $44 in a year’s time.
Scott Devitt of Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), sees the glass as half-full instead of half-empty in respect of Facebook’s future with mobile devices – brushing aside stubborn concerns regarding the feasibility of sustained revenues from mobile users, Devitt claims instead that mobiles are, in fact, “a significant long-term opportunity.” Price target: $38.
Andre Sequin of Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY) Capital Markets justifies a price target of $40 with a transformation in the company’s fortunes as it pulls off better monetization of “the unparalleled user base and user engagement it has already built.”
Could these bullish views initiate a sucker’s rally in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)? And could investors suffer fresh pain if this rally unwound?
Maybe, and here’s why, according to analysts on the other side of the fence.
They point out that, at a valuation of 40 to 50 times forward profits, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is way more expensive than the broad market multiple of just 15 times.
Such a valuation is “completely off” even though Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is a great company, says analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities Research. His valuation: just $10 to $15! His advice: Look at the fundamentals, and remember that the world doesn’t start and end with Facebook.
While not offering any official financial advice, we urge investors to be cautious of what seems to be another social media bubble.