Twitter, Facebook Remain Top Analyst Picks In 2015

Twitter, Facebook Remain Top Analyst Picks In 2015
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Analysts at JPMorgan and MKM Partners have issued bullish reports on Facebook and Twitter

Although Facebook has been a Wall Street darling for a couple of years now, Twitter has been going through the same sentiment Facebook faced during its first couple of years as a public company. However, social media stocks continue to be popular, and some analysts are harping not only about Facebook, but Twitter as well.

Facebook engagement looks solid

In a report dated Feb. 17, JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth and his team provided analysis of the latest engagement data from comScore. They said Facebook is still their top pick this year because they think the social network is still in the early stages of monetizing its 1.4 billion user base while also building a number of other strong products, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

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The data from comScore indicates that Facebook’s share of mobile internet time, excluding WhatsApp and Instagram, edged upward by a percentage point to 21% in the month of January time. The social network’s share of total internet time, including desktop, fell from 18.2% to 17%. Here’s a look at Facebook’s trend in mobile minutes share (All graphs and charts in this article are courtesy JPMorgan):


comScore’s data also shows that Facebook’s share of total internet minutes is still seven times the number of minutes spent on competing services. If including Instagram and WhatsApp, total minutes increased 16% year over year in January, which is flat with December’s growth rate but a bit lower than the 20% growth rate in November.


Are investors getting tired of Facebook?

The analysts do say though that investors may be becoming frustrated with Facebook for several reasons. First, they note that the social network’s stock has remained relatively flat since the end of July. Additionally, estimates for the company’s earnings didn’t rise much after the last earnings report, although that was partially related to the strengthening U.S. dollar.

The JPMorgan team also points out that other major internet names have posted some major upward moves compared to Facebook stock. For example, shares of LinkedIn have climbed 16% so far this year, while Twitter stock is up by 34% year to date, Netflix is up by 38% and Amazon has climbed 21% so far this year.

However, they think Facebook is the best positioned internet stock over the next three to five years because of its growth platforms and mobile minute share. They see room to run in the Mobile Newsfeed ad formats and video ads.

Is Twitter this year’s stock to own this year?

While sentiment on Facebook may be shifting toward the negative, the exact opposite appears to be happening with Twitter. In a separate report also dated Feb. 17, MKM Partners managing director Rob Sanderson said he thinks Twitter is actually the large cap internet stock to own this year. He bumped up his price target slightly from $61 to $62 per share after raising his estimates.

The analyst notes that Twitter remains a very “polarizing stock,” adding that there are indeed some significant risks in execution. However, he calls the micro-blogging platform “a unique asset with unparalleled potential value to marketers.”

Will investors dive into Twitter?

He points out that investors would like to be positive but that sustainability remains a big concern. However, he thinks the majority of investors believe Twitter is the only ad-driven stock that might double and then double again. Sanderson thinks investors who remain on the sidelines because of user growth concerns may start getting into the stock.

Additionally, he points out just how quickly Twitter stock has climbed in a short time, climbing 31% since Jan. 29, compared to the NASDAQ’s increase of only 3.7%. The analyst sees a number of upside drivers, including improvements to the user experience and acceleration in monthly active user growth. Other potential catalysts include the video consumption and spending ramp, logged-out user monetization and syndication, and opportunities with MoPub, Fabric, and e-commerce in general.

Sanderson said he is “increasingly bullish” on Twitter.

As of this writing, Twitter shares were down by 0.46% to $47.81 per share while Facebook stock was up by 1.11% to $76.44 per share.

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