Facebook Inc (FB)’s Sharp Stock Rise Outpacing Analyst Estimates


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock, which has rallied 32% so far this year compared to the 1.6% gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, is leaving analysts and experts with little time to adjust or update their take on the social network, says a report from Bloomberg.

Facebook Inc (FB)'s Sharp Stock Rise Outpacing Analyst Estimates

Out of 49 analysts covering Facebook, 38 have assigned a Buy rating on the stock, and 21 of the analysts now have price target below where Facebook is trading.

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Analysts updating their model to factor in the sharp rise

Analysts have assigned an average 12 month price target of $72.46 for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), less than 1% above the company’s closing price of $72.03 yesterday. Analysts are upbeat on the stock as the price levels are rising at a faster pace compared to the targets assigned, forcing bullish investors and traders to adjust their projections. Two analysts increased their price target yesterday.

“Facebook stock has just ripped past expectations,” said Richard Greenfield, a New York-based analyst, told Bloomberg. In October, the analyst suggested buying the shares with a $68 target over the next 12 months. When Greenfield assigned the price target, Facebook was trading at $49.  “We’re very happy with our rating upgrade to buy, but it has all happened super fast,” he said.

Eric Sheridan, an analyst with UBS, is one of the two analysts to set a new price target yesterday. The analyst changed his 12-month goal for the social network to $90 from $72 previously, the highest price target on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) compared to all other analysts. Sheridan assigned a price target of $26 last year, in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Mobile advertising driving growth for Facebook

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman at Menlo Park, California-based Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), declined to comment, according to Bloomberg. Increase in the Facebook stock indicates that the prospects of the company have improved after its patchy and rough debut in May 2012. The company has moved on from the 50% drop in its stock price,in the months after it launched its IPO at $38. At that time, investors were keen to know if the social networking site would come up with a mobile strategy.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is doing tremendously well in mobile advertising now. Back in January, the company posted quarterly results which outperformed the estimates. Mobile devices contributed half of ad revenue to Facebook’s total revenue. A few days back, Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, betting on the mobile-messaging start-up’s large international user base to accelerate growth.

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