What to Expect From Facebook Earnings

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) is scheduled to release its second-quarter earnings report after the markets close on Wednesday. The huge social media leader posted gigantic first-quarter numbers that truly blew most of Wall Street away. Facebook has Instagram, from which some analysts see revenues tripling in 2017 over 2016. The question is whether Facebook can have a repeat performance for the second quarter.

The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters are calling for $0.82 in earnings per share (EPS) on $6.02 billion in revenue. In the same period of last year, it posted EPS of $0.50 and $4.04 billion in revenue.

Analysts expect that Facebook will deliver strong results driven by mobile, especially Instagram, for the second quarter, and many see upside to second-quarter estimates.

In particular, Jefferies has a Buy rating with a $160 price target, based on increasing questions around Facebook’s longer-term positioning. The firm is sees 45% annual revenue growth coming with 58% EBITDA margin. The recent Jefferies report said:

We note that results will be driven by mobile, especially Instagram which continues to ramp monetization efforts on a 500 million-plus monthly active user base. For the second quarter, we see upside driven by Dynamic Product Ads on Instagram, offset by a tougher year-over-year comp due to leap year. Facebook Messenger now has 1 billion users (up from 900 million in April 2016). Longer term we have increasing questions around positioning with millennials with a particular concern around users and brands migrating to Snapchat, and eventually the related impact to Instagram revenue.

Ahead of the earnings report, quite a few analysts weighed in on Facebook:

  • Morgan Stanley reiterated a Buy rating.
  • Merrill Lynch reiterated a Buy rating with a $145 price target.
  • Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a Buy rating with a $150 price target.
  • Evercore ISI reiterated a Buy rating with a $155 price target.
  • MKM Partners reiterated a Buy rating.
  • Canaccord Genuity reiterated a Buy rating with a $150 price target.
  • Raymond James reiterated an Outperform rating with a $140 price target.
  • BTIG Research downgraded it to Neutral with a $117 price target.
  • Wedbush has a Buy rating and set its price target at $145.
  • Goldman Sachs has a Buy rating with a $142 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank reiterated a Buy rating with a $160 price target.
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So far in 2016, Facebook has outperformed the broad markets, with the stock up about 16%. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is up nearly 29%.

Shares of Facebook were trading up 0.6% at $121.95 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $143.67 and a 52-week trading range of $72.00 to $122.57.