Despite inciting bearish worries, Facebook Inc.’s (FB) big tumble that led to the largest single-day loss in market value by a single company in stock market history could be a huge buying opportunity. The tech titan is down 21% from its all-time record high reached on July 25 after an alarming earnings report showed missed-revenue forecasts and a bleaker forward guidance from the company’s management. Yet, as a mega-cap company with a strong balance sheet and modest revenue growth potential, a number of analysts believe Facebook can now be picked up at a reasonable valuation. Both Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets and Anthony DiClemente of Evercore ISI have an Outperform rating on the stock and price targets that suggest a strong buying opportunity, according to Barron’s.
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Upside for a Fallen FANG
The upside for Facebook is supported by expectations that revenues will still grow by at least 25% next year, even though that estimate is below the 35% revenue increase projected for this year. A growth rate that high would be one of the highest organic growth rates for companies with market capitalizations equal to or in excess of $100 billion.
The company is also swimming in cash with total net cash of $42 billion bolstering its balance sheet. Facebook also bought back a record $3.3 billion of its own stock during the second quarter, which is generally seen as an indicator that a company’s management has confidence in the long-term outlook. Still, analysts are trying to reconcile those repurchases with the weaker future outlook projection provided by management.
After the big tumble last week, Facebook’s shares are now the lowest valued among its FANG peers—Amazon, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet—despite the shares of those big tech companies also experiencing significant declines. Facebook is currently trading at a forward price-to-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) of 20.45, whereas Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet are trading at forward multiples of 71.27, 77.67 and 25.71, respectively. Considering the company’s strong fundamentals, the lowered valuation may be a big-tech bargain. (To read more, see: Facebook Set to Drag Tech Stocks Lower.)
The Bearish View
Others, however, are not so convinced. Immediately following Facebook’s poor earnings report and subsequent stock plunge, a number of others, including investment firm Nomura Instinet and UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, downgraded the stock to neutral. Both cited the weaker growth and margin outlook as influential factors in their change of rating.
Long-time technology analyst Paul Meeks, also chief investment officer at Sloy, Dahl & Holst Inc., believes that, despite the recent plunge by Facebook and the rest of the FANGs, their shares are still overvalued. Meeks told CNBC late last week that he “wouldn’t buy them today,” arguing that he sees a future “slip up” where, “these stocks won’t go down 2%, they’ll go down 20% because they’re volatile tech names and that’s your buying opportunity.” (To read more, see: FANGs Overvalued Despite Recent Drop: Paul Meeks.)
The company also has a number of challenges ahead as it faces increasing scrutiny over how it deals with disinformation and the protection of consumer privacy.