Is Facebook (FB) finally de-risked after its self-inflicted data misuse privacy scandal and the rout in the technology sector? Facebook has been mired in privacy scandals, public relations mismanagement and a very public exodus of many high-level departures across the company. If this wasn’t bad enough, Facebook totally dropped the ball on its second quarter conference call, wiping out $119 billion in market capitalization in a single session marking the worst one day drop for any large-cap company in history. This negative backdrop was met with a technology sell-off in the fourth quarter of 2018 culminating into the perfect set-up to knock the stock into bear market territory. Facebook sold-off during these two waves from $218 in July to a low of $123 in December of 2018, logging a 43% decline over this five-month period. Despite the aforementioned stock implosion, Facebook remains one of the most compelling large-cap growth companies posting double-digit growth with P/E and PEG ratios well below its peers. Recently, JPMorgan reiterated Facebook as a “best idea” and expects the stock reach $195 and “climb the wall of worry.” Baird also came out with an outperform rating basing its target of $195 on stabilizing engagement on its Facebook platform and growth in its Instagram property. Facebook has grown its revenues by over 30% for 20 consecutive quarters with its latest quarter coming in at 33% revenue growth. As this revenue streak continues coupled with the dramatic decline in its stock and cheap valuation, I think Facebook is de-risked. The technology cohort has started to show signs of resurgence with Facebook and Netflix (NFLX) leading the pack with plenty of upside for the former.
Ancillary fallout emanating from its data misuse scandal involving Cambridge Analytica continued to surface throughout 2018 across the globe in various regions. Security issues affecting 50 million accounts, a lawsuit alleging concealing video admeasurements and increasing EU scrutiny plagued the stock. The original mishandling user data resulted in the stock tumbling from $195 to $152 or ~20% at the time. Facebook appreciated off those data misuse lows and broke out to $220 however this scenario ended abruptly on the heels of its Q2 earnings. Facebook issued a major guide down in growth for the next few quarters tampering growth expectations in the near term. Facebook faced a challenging confluence of slowing revenue growth, margin compression and stagnant daily active users in the near to intermediate term. There was an initiative that had the backing of four large institutional investors to remove Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s chairman in the wake of all of these security issues. Continue reading "Is Facebook Finally A Buy After The Tech Rout?"