Barclays Going Crazy for Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook

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When analysts issue new ratings on popular tech, internet and social media stocks, sometimes the upside can be large. Traditional new ratings such as Buy and Outperform in established Dow Jones Industrial Average stocks and S&P 500 stocks come with upside targets implying gains of 8% to 15% at this stage in the bull market.

With a new analyst coverage from Barclays’ Ross Sandler, Amazon and Alphabet are given far stronger upside targets. Facebook’s call looks more traditional in the upside. Notes have been provided on each call, as has the market reaction and the views of analysts from Thomson Reuters. Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was started with an Overweight rating and assigned a whopping $1,120 price target. That implies upside of close to 30%, and it blows away the consensus analyst target price of $941.38, despite being well under the street-high analyst target of $1,250.

Barclays called Amazon out as being “arguably the best story in the space, with the most open-ended growth opportunity.” They also called Amazon the most highly functional organization with the largest total addressable markets that will be among the first $1 trillion market cap companies in the years ahead.

Amazon shares were up the most of the three stocks on Wednesday, up $18.96 (2.2%) at $874.96. Its 52-week trading range is now $585.25 to $876.36, with that 52-week high being from the same day.

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) was started with an Overweight rating at Barclays and the firm assigned a $1,065 price target. This target represents almost 27% upside in the parent of Google, and the consensus analyst target is $986.92. This call is almost as strong as the street-high analyst target of $1,100 in the Thomson Reuters universe.

Barclays noted that Alphabet’s pace of innovation is high. That is particularly in the case of it updating many core applications in conjunction with its own advanced machine learning, or artificial intelligence. They also noted that Google is expanding its reach in the cloud and in hardware.

Alphabet’s shares were up $9.82 (1.17%) at $850.45 late on Wednesday, in its 52-week range of $672.66 to $874.42.

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) was also started with an Overweight rating at Barclays. The firm’s $154 price target implied upside of less than 9%, and that target is actually under the Thomson Reuters consensus target of $160.32.

What stands out about the Barclays call here, and what makes the 9% upside puzzling, is that the firm now sees close to 10 years of strong fundamentals coming down the pipe. Barclays called Facebook at best pure play in consumer internet around the secular growth in mobile advertising.

Facebook shares were up $0.96 (0.7%) at $142.72 late on Wednesday. Its 52-week range is now $106.31 to $142.76 — with a new high being seen on the same day.