Facebook Inc (FB) Downgraded Ahead Of Earnings

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) scheduled to release its next earnings report on July 27 and has earned at least one downgrade ahead of that report, despite its status as one of Wall Street’s most-adored stocks. The question now is whether the social growth machine can keep it up.

Facebook still has room to run: consensus viewpoint

MKM Partners Managing Director Rob Sanderson has a Buy rating and $150 price target on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Stock. He continues to side with the consensus view that the social network is still a must-own stock as its fundamentals are strong. He also thinks the consensus estimates are achievable or even beatable as Wall Street is looking at 48% growth on the top line and a 6% drag due to currency headwinds.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)  is expected to post $6 billion in revenue and 81 cents per share in non-GAAP earnings for the second quarter, although Sanderson expects a beat on both the top and bottom lines. He’s projecting revenue of $6.04 billion and non-GAAP earnings of 82 cents per share. Consensus suggests Desktop ad revenue of $957 million, Mobile ad revenue of $4.84 billion, and Payments and Other revenue of $190 million.

Instagram and Messenger to add to growth

Sanderson believes that the Elections and Olympics will drive more than $5 billion in incremental ad spend overall and that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)  and Instagram stand to see between $300 million and $500 million from that. He also still sees plenty of room to run in the Instagram ramp as he estimates that it added about 500 basis points to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) ‘s ad sales growth last year and will contribute 700 basis points this year and 600 basis points next year. He estimates a 30% increase in monthly active user growth on Instagram and a 75% increase in revenue per user from it this year.

The MKM analyst added that although the ramp of Messenger seems far away, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)  has plenty of time to get it right. He doesn’t believe the social network will focus on “the gimmicky elements of WeChat or Line” such as stickers or gaming but rather will focus more on commerce and marketing. He likes the early progress on ChatBots but believes this will take “many years to nurture.”

BTIG downgrades FB

Meanwhile BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield downgraded Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) from Buy to Neutral because the stock has surpassed his $117 price target. He noted that expectations for the social network have gotten much higher than they were a year ago, although management has emphasized that they face comparisons that get more and more difficult as the year goes on.

In short, he believes expectations have gotten “too aggressive,” although he still likes Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in general. He pointed out that the social network is still one of just a very few ways to gain exposure to the shift from traditional ad spending to mobile ad spending.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares edged downward by as much as 0.05% to $120.56 during regular trading hours on Friday.

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