The sharp decline of big tech stocks that once dominated the ten-year bull market has shaken many investors' faith in the sector. Yet JPMorgan internet analyst Doug Anmuth argues that three prominent beaten down techs are the best positioned to outperform next year after falling into bear market territory in 2018. They are two giant companies, Facebook Inc. (FB) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), and also smaller but ubiquitous Twitter Inc. (TWTR), according to Barron’s.
Anmuth looked through his entire coverage universe to come up with these 3 stocks for his “Best Ideas in 2019” list. They have his highest conviction for above average returns in 2019.
Here's what may drive these stocks higher.
Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media titan suffered its worst day in Wall Street history in July, erasing about $100 billion in market value on fears of slowing revenue growth. The plunge followed a series of sell-offs in Facebook stock earlier in 2018, driven in part by news regarding data and privacy scandals including the company’s involvement with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook shares got a short-lived breath of fresh air on third-quarter results in which bulls cheered the potential for monetization of messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Messenger, as well as its popular Instagram business.
Facebook stock has fallen about 18% this year as of Monday morning trading. The stock is down more than 51% from its 52-week high. However, “We expect Facebook to operate its way up the wall of worry in 2019,” wrote JPMorgan. “We find the current valuation compelling.”
Anmuth expects Facebook stock to gain about 35% from current levels to reach a 12-month price target of $195. He cited the stock's attractive valuation, trading at 16.5 times 2020 estimated earnings. Anmuth expects platforms like Facebook and Instagram Stories, which have rapidly stolen market share from mediums like Snap Inc.’s (SNAP) Snapchat, to drive sales growth.
Moving forward, as Facebook gears up to post earnings results in January, the stock could surge higher on positive results and experience limited downside on an earnings miss due to its already depressed valuation.
Amazon. While Amazon shares are still up about 33% this year, the stock has plunged over 31% from its high, when it became the second U.S. corporation after Apple Inc. (AAPL) to surpass the $1 trillion market value threshold.
Anmuth is among the bulls who see the stock’s recent plunge as an opportunity to buy, highlighting the potential for the firm’s leading public cloud service and its advertising business. “Amazon’s fastest growing revenue streams are its most profitable and driving margin expansion,” wrote Anmuth. “Core retail trends remain strong with revenue acceleration likely in first-quarter ’19.”
Twitter. While Twitter has managed to stage a partial comeback starting the end of 2017, its shares remain far off multi-year highs.
The social media company thus far has failed to increase engagement amid heightened industry competition even amid initiatives including investments in video content and strategic partnerships. But JPMorgan is optimistic. Platform quality efforts "are positive,” wrote Anmuth, adding that Twitter "should drive more engagement and advertising over time.”
Anmuth’s $45 price target on Twitter stock implies a 28% upside from current levels. Twitter shares have risen around 46 this year and fallen 36% from their summer highs.
What’s Next for Investors?
JPMorgan's Anmuth makes his recommendations in the face of strong negative sentiment toward these stocks. As investors turn away from growth stocks to value plays, some suggest that the FAANG narrative will only get worse. “We can just find better stocks, both in tech and outside of tech, that offer better growth, or better valuations, or fewer risks.,” said Mark Stoeckle, Chief Executive Officer of Adams Funds, per an interview with Bloomberg.