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Meta’s post-earnings decline could be a buying opportunity for long-term investors, analysts say


Facebook-parent Meta will find its footing again — even if, for the moment, it faces a difficult macro backdrop from a deterioration in ad demand, according to some Wall Street analysts. Shares dropped 5% in premarket trading after Meta reported earnings and revenue that missed analyst expectations. The social media company also issued a disappointing forecast for the third quarter, citing a “continuation of the weak advertising demand environment we experienced throughout the second quarter, which we believe is being driven by broader macroeconomic uncertainty.” The guidance pointed to a second straight decline in year-over-year quarterly sales. On top of that, the company announced more changes to its top ranks. Finance chief David Wehner is moving over to a chief strategy officer position, while vice president of finance Susan Li will take over as CFO. The Facebook parent announced early June that Sheryl Sandberg was stepping down from her role as chief operating officer . Still, analysts believe the stock drop is an opportunity for long-term investors to snap up shares of Meta, which they believe is well positioned to turn around after ad demand recovers and as monetization of Instagram’s Reels ramps up. Meta is down 50% this year. “Although engagement rates are among the best they have ever been, lower monetization due to a mix-shift to Reels adoption, signal loss due to iOS changes, and macro headwinds are impacting revenue growth and profitability,” Citi’s Ronald Josey wrote in a Thursday note. “But with Reels now at a $1B ARR with monetization ramping at a faster rate than Stories did over a similar period, we believe Meta can close the monetization gap between Reels and Feed, and Stories over time.” Citi maintained its buy rating on Meta, but lowered its price target to $222 from $270. Analysts such as Wolfe Research’s Deepak Mathivanan believe that Meta’s investments into artificial intelligence and content discovery will eventually pay off down the line. “[The] company is making progress on product and monetization initiatives that should help drive share gains during/post downturn in the digital ads space,” Wolfe’s Mathivanan wrote in a Thursday note. Wolfe Research has an outperform rating on the company, though it cut its price target to $200 from $240. Meanwhile, Oppenheimer’s Jason Helfstein said the company is well positioned to “fend off TikTok risk,” noting that the stock’s valuation was compelling at 15 times 2023 earnings. To be sure, not all had such a rosy outlook on Meta, especially the company’s near-term prospects. JPMorgan’s Doug Anmuth wrote in a Thursday note that he believes that consensus estimates are likely to fall, “perhaps meaningfully.” JPMorgan has a neutral rating on Meta, and trimmed the price target to $200 from $225. “We’re encouraged by META’s greater overall discipline, but–like for GOOGL–we don’t think investor views will change much coming out of the print,” wrote Anmuth. UBS’ Lloyd Walmsley cut his fourth-quarter and 2023 earnings per share estimates after the report, citing “commentary around deterioration through 2Q, broad-based weakness, and macro headwinds outweighing easing comps.” “Engagement in Reels continues to climb, but mgmt continues to prevaricate when pressed on aggregate time spent growth. The Reels monetization ramp seems slow. Given the magnitude of product changes underway, we think investors need to hear an unambiguous and material improvement in time spent to get comfortable,” he said. The analyst cut his price target on the stock to $195 per share from $215, implying 15% upside from Wednesday’s close. However, he maintained his buy rating on the social media name. Here are Wall Street’s views on the social media company: Bank of America: Reiterate Buy, PO $218 Atlantic Equities: Overweight, YE22 PT to $210 from $215 Barclays: Overweight, PT to $250 from $280 Wolfe Research: Outperform, PT to $200 from $240 RBC Capital Markets: Outperform, PT to $190 from $200 Stifel: Buy, PT to $230 from $260 Morgan Stanley: Overweight, PT $280 JPMorgan: Neutral, PT $200 from $225 JMP: Market Outperform, PT $215 Citi: Buy, PT to $222 from $270 Evercore ISI: Outperform, PT to $240 from $280 Credit Suisse: Outperform, PT $214 Goldman Sachs: Buy, PT $255 Jefferies: Buy, PT $275 Raymond James: Outperform, PT to $215 from $290 Deutsche Bank: Buy, PT $200 AllianceBernstein: Outperform, PT to $230 from $255 Mizuho: Buy, PT to $225 from $250 Cowen: Outperform, PT to $250 from $275 UBS: Buy, PT $195 from $215 –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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