Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been a central pillar for many tech portfolios since it recovered from its IPO debacle in 2012. But now that the stock price increases have been slowing ever-so-slightly over the past 12 months, despite remaining close to an all-time high. So, what is the best play to make on Facebook going forward? Canaccord Genuity believes that it has the answer.
Its analysts, Michael Graham, Austin Moldow and Ryan Wallace have opined that Facebook should go to even higher highs.
Considering that Facebook’s stock performance has slowed over the past six months, increasing only about 3% compared to the S&P 500, which is up roughly 1%. The detractor from this performance was largely the result of a negative reaction to first-quarter earnings.
These earnings were characterized by strong underlying metrics, but with a weaker second-quarter outlook due to FX headwinds. Meanwhile, Canaccord Genuity believes Facebook’s fundamental outlook remains positive, underpinned by multiple revenue drivers that span both the near and long term.
The brokerage firm believes that the company’s approximately $230 billion of market value makes the idea of the stock doubling anytime soon somewhat challenging. Canaccord Genuity finds the valuation reasonable, especially when set against the robust growth outlook.
Separately, Facebook continues to grow its monthly active users (MAUs) well above 10% (13% in the first quarter) and daily active users (DAUs) even faster (17% in the first quarter). The faster DAU growth is evidence of increasing engagement, which is corroborated by comScore data showing time spent expanding consistently.
Canaccord Genuity detailed in its report:
Ad revenue is growing more than 3x faster than users, and we believe this can continue for several years. Facebook has high monetization per user, but when adjusted for time spent (>20 hours per user per month) monetization remains lower than almost any comparable property (we estimate $38 per 1,000 user hours compared with $65 for YouTube and $270 for Twitter!).
The firm also estimated that Instagram can generate $1.2 billion in revenue next year and nearly $4 billion by 2018. Additionally, it believes the long-term opportunity to use Facebook data to monetize users when off Facebook’s own property is large, given that Google generates about 20% of revenue off property.
To finish off its report, Canaccord Genuity gave its price target and said:
Facebook stock trades at ~31 times 2016 consensus EPS, which puts it in the upper half of the multiple range for large-cap peers. However, when adjusted for 32% EPS growth, the PEG ratio of 0.97 is among the lowest. Our price target remains at $90, based on 32x our 2016 EPS estimate $2.80.
Shares of Facebook were up 2.1% at $82.38 Wednesday afternoon. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $95.76 and a 52-week trading range of $62.21 to $86.07.
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