Facebook Inc (FB) Stock: Bulls Come Out In Force

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock has been a favorite of investors for quite some time, maybe even usurping Apple as the favorite of some, and it seems unlikely to fall out of favor any time soon. In fact, Wall Street is getting even more bullish on it — at least according to Twitter mentions. What a change from September 2012 when the stock tanked so hard it tripped a circuit breaker at the NASDAQ.

Bullish tweets about Facebook (FB) stock skyrocket

CNBC reports that data from Social Market Analytics indicates that bullish tweets about Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock have doubled over the last week. The firm scans and analyzes social media posts and then forms “predictive trading signals,” according to the news network. It reports that Facebook stock had the largest increase in bullish social media posts among major stocks in the U.S. over the last week.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares climbed by as much as 1.2% to $123.97 during regular trading hours on Thursday. The stock has surged more than 18% so far year to date.

Why the euphoria about Facebook (FB)?

It’s now been just over a week since the social network reported second quarter earnings that beat expectations on the back of soaring revenue from mobile ads. Then on Tuesday, it launched Instagram Stories, a product that is obviously a clear competitor for Snapchat Stories.

Instagram Stories copies many features of Snapchat’s offering, including the format, which is basically a series of videos and photos with special effects added which vanish after 24 hours. It’s been three years since Snapchat launched Stories, and it was so popular that the company added a version that it curates itself called Our Stories.

Facebook (FB) stock to return 20% a year

So with the massive increase in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s stock price, how much more can it take before investors finally say it’s at fair value? A money manager who has been spot on in calling what will happen with the social media’s stock price over the last couple of years says he believes its returns will reach 20% annually.

Forbes contributor Ken Kam spoke with Marketocracy founder Tony Mitchell, who said in March 2013 that within a year, Facebook stock would surpass $70 per share, which it did in February 2014. At the time of his forecast, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was trading at nearly $26 per share. In March 2015, he predicted that the stock would reach $100 before the year’s end, which it did in October. Facebook stock ended the year with a 34% return.

Mitchell warned that the stock might pull back a little more, but if it does, he said it would provide a buying opportunity. He still believes the average return of the stock will be higher than 20% over the next two years. He adds that already Facebook stock is approaching that level this year as it returned 18% as of the market’s close on July 29 since December 31, 2015. He also believes the stock will surpass $130 this year and reach $150 sometime next year.

Market cap is “meaningless”

Kam also asked him about Facebook’s market capitalization, which Kam said bears use to argue against the stock, and the high PE ratio. Even as recently as June, Citron Research said Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock was too expensive and should be shorted — a call that’s only likely to increase in intensity the higher it goes.

But Mitchell called market cap “a meaningless number” when it comes to calculating where a stock price will go in the future. He said it does tell how valuable a company is compared to others, but he explained that a stock is based on how well a company is expected to do in the future in terms of earnings per share and also its multiple.

He noted that the average forward multiple for Technology companies is 29.4 and that the average forward multiple for companies within Software and IT Services is 36.2. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s multiple stands at 24.69 currently, according to Thomson Reuters estimates. He defined Facebook stock as a momentum trade “that will actually expand its multiple before it ever shrinks.”

Everyone singing the praises of Facebook (FB)

There are plenty of others also calling for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stock to keep on rising from here even after its massive tear. In a post on Profit Confidential, Jing Pan noted that the social network’s five-year sales growth of 55.5% and quarter over quarter sales growth of 59.2% is ahead of the growth rates of many other leading tech stocks, including Apple, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft, Intel and Cisco Systems.

Additionally, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is the only top tech firm with a debt to equity ratio of zero, and it has the lowest short ratio among those stocks.

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