Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock remains a favorite on Wall Street, and unlike Netflix—a fellow constituent of the FANG stocks—there don’t appear to be any well-known naysayers. As the social network grows and adds new ad products, it receives more and more accolades.
Already this year, it has picked up a pair of price target increases as analysts recommend that investors resolve to buy more shares. These increases follow two firms’ naming of the stock as one of their top picks for this year; one of the two firms (JPMorgan) actually just trimmed its price target for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) this month.
Answering the Facebook controversies
In a research note dated Jan. 11, Credit Suisse analysts Stephen Ju and Christopher Ford reiterated their Outperform rating and boosted their price target for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock from $165 to $170 per share. They argued against the controversies that have been surrounding the social network.
The Credit Suisse team called Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock “mispriced” because they feel that it offers a “favorable” risk/ reward. Among the controversial factors they tackled in their note are ad load and growth in operating expenditures, both of which are issues they expect to be resolved to investors’ satisfaction at some point in the next year. Once these overhangs are cleared, they expect the stock’s multiple to expand to “levels more in-line with” the company’s growth.
Not enough credit given to Facebook
One thing they expect to be addressed on the fourth quarter earnings call early next month is operating expenditures, as management will likely give a clearer picture of what investors can expect on this topic in 2017. The analysts predict that the concerns about revenue growth will be cleared up by the third quarter earnings report or possibly even before then.
Overall, the CS team doesn’t feel that Wall Street is giving Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) any credit for the potential of monetizing Messenger, so they see any news on this front as a positive catalyst for its stock. The analysts also believe the Street is underestimating the long-term potential from future products such as Graph Search or even future monetization of current products such as WhatsApp.
In terms of the concerns about slowing growth in ad load, they believe the company can drive long-term growth in its revenue without having to lift ad load materially.
They also demonstrated tracked ways the social network grew its revenue in the past without boosting ad load materially.
In the near term, they see this growth coming from Instagram, Premium Video and Dynamic Product Ads.
Facebook stock target raised for ad survey
Cowen & Company analysts boosted their price target from $150 to $156 and reiterated their Outperform rating for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock in their own research note on Tuesday. They noted that the company has seen strong growth in video ads and also cited some positive signs from a recent ad survey. For example, the survey indicated that Facebook’s core platform and Instagram together capture 75% of the dollars spent on social media advertising.
Cowen expects the company’s targeting algorithm to give it a boost as well and pointed to the survey again, as 17% of those who participated in it indicated that they would allocate ad dollars to a standalone brand campaign on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). That’s an increase from the 10% recorded by the same survey last year.
Insiders cash in on Facebook stock
As Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock has climbed higher and higher, insiders at the company have been cashing in on their holdings. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg unloads shares regularly, and this time she is joined by Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox and General Counsel Colin Stretch, all of whom have sold some shares this year.
Sandberg exercised some stock options, converting the into Class A shares. She acquired more than 52,000 shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock in a transaction on Jan. 5 and then sold all of them and more, unloading about 109,000 shares in all on the same day. Cox sold 16,000 shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in a pair of transactions on Jan. 6, while Stretch sold 750 shares on Jan. 3.
Class A shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock rose by as much as 0.54% to $125.02 during regular trading hours on Wednesday.