SunTrust Banks Reiterates “Buy” Rating for Facebook (FB)

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)‘s stock had its “buy” rating restated by equities researchers at SunTrust Banks in a research note issued on Monday. They currently have a $200.00 price target on the social networking company’s stock. SunTrust Banks’ price objective suggests a potential upside of 36.78% from the company’s current price.

The analysts wrote, “We believe another quarter of negative headlines, FX headwinds, prioritization of pushing users towards the under-monetized Stories, and on-going friction from GDPR will cause revenue growth to decelerate further. We estimate 3Q18 ad revenue growth at 34% y/y (+34.5% ex-FX), reaching $13,595 million vs. +42.3% in 2Q18. Recall that management guided to high single digit sequential decline in Y/Y growth in 3Q18 and again in 4Q18 on the 2Q18 call. Improvement in monetization (+21% ARPU y/y to $6.04), and to a lesser degree, in global MAUs (+9% y/y to 2.27B) should drive this growth. Our intra-quarter conversation with marketers have been positive, supporting these estimates. Kenshoo for one found overall social spend was up 40% y/y, consistent with 41% growth in 3Q17 and 40% growth in 2Q18 (driven by 51% y/y growth in clicks and a 24% y/y growth in impressions).””

A number of other analysts have also weighed in on the stock. Wells Fargo & Co reaffirmed an “outperform” rating and issued a $250.00 price target (up from $230.00) on shares of Facebook in a research note on Monday, July 2nd. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Facebook from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, July 2nd. BidaskClub lowered shares of Facebook from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 3rd. BTIG Research upped their price target on shares of Facebook from $175.00 to $275.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 5th. Finally, Societe Generale reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $150.00 price target on shares of Facebook in a research note on Friday, July 6th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating, forty-one have given a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $205.11.

Facebook stock opened at $146.22 on Monday. The stock has a market cap of $422.30 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.74, a PEG ratio of 0.92 and a beta of 0.42. Facebook has a 52-week low of $139.03 and a 52-week high of $218.62.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The social networking company reported $1.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.46 by $0.30. The firm had revenue of $13.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $13.82 billion. Facebook had a net margin of 39.31% and a return on equity of 28.16%. Facebook’s revenue was up 32.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.59 EPS. Equities research analysts predict that Facebook will post 7.06 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In other news, CTO Michael Todd Schroepfer sold 38,037 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $180.72, for a total transaction of $6,874,046.64. Following the sale, the chief technology officer now owns 575,586 shares in the company, valued at $104,019,901.92. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Sheryl Sandberg sold 55,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $180.72, for a total transaction of $9,939,600.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold 3,622,884 shares of company stock worth $640,571,897 in the last 90 days. 16.25% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Cribstone Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Facebook by 186.2% in the 2nd quarter. Cribstone Capital Management LLC now owns 624 shares of the social networking company’s stock valued at $121,000 after buying an additional 406 shares during the period. IMA Wealth Inc. acquired a new position in Facebook in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $122,000. Trust Department MB Financial Bank N A acquired a new position in Facebook in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $134,000. Aviance Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in Facebook in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $151,000. Finally, Arlington Partners LLC acquired a new position in Facebook in the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $164,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 60.30% of the company’s stock.

About Facebook

Facebook, Inc provides various products to connect and share through mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces worldwide. Its products include Facebook Website and mobile application that enables people to connect, share, discover, and communicate with each other on mobile devices and personal computers; Instagram, a community for sharing visual stories through photos, videos, and direct messages; Messenger, a messaging application to communicate with other people, groups, and businesses across various platforms and devices; and WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application.

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