Gene Munster is probably the only analyst with name recognition outside of the financial sector. His constant focus on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and past correct predictions, have made his reports, or summaries thereof, widely read by technophiles across the globe. Yesterday, however, the analyst released a report on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), signalling a new found interest in the world’s largest social network.
Munster’s shift to covering Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is reminiscent of the way he took to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the launch of the iPhone, and with the launch of the iPad. He had been following the company for years, but his reports became more research intensive and specific as the company’s reputation, in parallel with his, grew.
Munster is well known in tech circles for the close attention he pays to predictions of future technological innovation, rather than humdrum financial specifics. His predictions, usually based on supply chain sources, recent patent filings, and assumptions about the direction in which the company is heading, have been both right and wrong in the past.
In 2009, he was one of the first to begin speculation about the introduction of a tablet computer by Apple. He even correctly predicted the approximate launch date, early 2010.
His abilities have come under question in recent years, as his numerous predictions that the firm will launch a full television product, though widely reported, failed to come to fruition. In his latest reports on the company he still estimates the introduction of such a product late this year, or early in 2013.
Munster’s report, a summary of which can be read here, also concentrates on how technological advancement can help Facebook grow. The report sets a price target of $41, after the firm closed at 18.06 on Friday evening. The new tech Munster sees coming is a “Want” button, with which Facebook could more fully align itself with advertisers and help to monetize the mobile sphere.
Munster has been a fan of Facebook for years now, but the IPO of the firm has given him full reign to advise and expound on the firm’s future. Munster believes that future to be a bright one, but like his reports on Apple, he’s not always right.
Just before Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced its first public earnings report Munster appeared on CNBC and expressed optimism about the stock. Since the release of those results, the firm’s share price have sunk even lower, as worries from disappointing results and the upcoming end to investor lock up periods. His price target at that time was $42, as the stock stood at around $29.34.
His most recent report reveals deeper thinking about the company than previous comments. Munster, a man who has built his infamy on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s success, may see a more exciting company to start following. If this is true it’s likely to be Facebook.
In the CNBC interview before the earnings report, Munster said that you can’t bet against Facebook long term. That mirrors his attitude concerning Apple, a company he has the most stringent faith in. In an interview on Thursday, he stated that the stock could be the best stock in tech.
If the analyst is as wooed by Facebook as his statements suggest, he could very well concentrate his research efforts on the company. That would leave tech blogs sadly missing reports on Apple’s upcoming television products.
If Munster concentrates on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), and it looks like he might, it wouldn’t be surprising if he appears on the company’s next conference call, looking for answers to hard detailed questions from the company’s executives.
Munster’s addition to the panel could add a lot to the company’s conference call. His creative and original look at Apple has certainly influenced purchases of the firm’s shares, and his huge price targets are leading other analysts to predict pricing in the same region.
Munster may not abandon Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and he may not be as interested in Facebook as his recent appearances suggest. But if he is, his analysis could alter the trajectory of the company’s shares.