As the tech sector looks to quickly shrug off its recent volatility, shares of social media behemoth Facebook (FB - Free Report) gained more than 1.2% in morning trading on Monday. The stock is now sitting comfortably near the top of its 52-week range, which means it could be attractive to momentum investors looking for new highs.
Of course, some investors tend to avoid buying at 52-week highs, but regardless, we’re all looking for stocks that are going to keep consistently climbing higher. Facebook has been one of those steady gainers over the past several years, and now, as the company is in the midst of a pivotal year for its legacy, investors are eager to see whether that growth can continue.
So should you buy Facebook at the top of its range? Can this social media stock break even higher? Let’s take a closer look.
First of all, we should mention that Facebook’s VGM grade of “B” implies that the stock is fundamentally sound. However, with a “D” in the Value category, FB is clearly not a value investor’s dream. Indeed, this stock tends to perfectly represent the frustrations that value-minded investors have with tech companies right now. A quick glance at Facebook’s P/E, P/S, and P/B ratios underscores this theory.
Nevertheless, the stock also has an “A” grade for Growth. This is primarily because of its solid track record of revenue and earnings growth, as well as the fact that our consensus estimates continue to indicate growth in the current fiscal year.
Interestingly enough, Facebook warned investors that year-over-year earnings growth rate comparisons would become more difficult, especially as the company invests in hiring new talent and developing new projects this year. Still, projected earnings growth of nearly 35% on sales growth of 40% is nothing to scoff at.
And while it has cut into earnings growth slightly, Facebook’s recent spending has to be encouraging for long-term investors. We know that the company plans to roll out some sort of new TV show concept soon, and that new platform is on top of its new Snapchat-inspired story modes, as well as its hiring of new engineers and investments in data centers (also read: Will Facebook's TV Show Concept Crush Snap and Twitter?).
Of course, we should also mention that Facebook is currently a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Remember, the Zacks Rank is heavily influenced by earnings estimate revisions, so let’s check out a quick snapshot of the revision activity we have seen for Facebook recently:
As we can see, this is a pretty encouraging revision snapshot. Current-quarter, full-year, and next-year estimates have risen significantly—with strong agreement among analysts—over the past 60 days, and while the next quarter shows slightly less agreement, our consensus estimate has still edged higher in that timeframe.
We should note, however, that the most recent revisions seem to be holding this stock back a bit. Indeed, both the full-year and next-year Zacks Consensus Estimate has slipped over the past 30 days, and a peek at the “Upside” category of the Zacks Rank reveals that the Most Accurate Estimate—a method of tracking recent estimates—is lower for both of these periods. Nevertheless, a history of positive earnings surprises can influence the Zacks Rank positively, and Facebook has been able to surpass our earnings expectations by an average of nearly 17% in each of the trailing four quarters.
The Zacks Rank has proven to be a useful tool in evaluating stocks, but since there isn’t a definitive indicator here, let’s see if FB’s six-month chart reveals any trends that could prove useful to recognize:
The most glaring trend here is that FB’s 25-day moving average has acted as a support line for the stock over the past few months. However, as we should note, there have been a few short breaches of that support line. Nevertheless, these crossovers have not proven to be bearish signals in this timeframe.
We should also note that Facebook is climbing towards its 52-week high, which it touched just before the recent tech sell-off. Given that this volatility was momentary and industry-wide, it’s tough to say whether $155 will be a strong resistance line for FB. It will certainly be interesting to see how shares behave at this level.
Finally, we can’t mention this tech volatility without pointing to its cause. This chart illustrates a consistent, nearly interruption-free climb over the past six months, and that trend is mirrored across several other large-cap tech stocks.
After a cautious warning from Goldman Sachs, it seemed like investors had a brief moment of hesitation about these stocks, and it was a slightly rocky week or so across the tech sector (also read: Here's Why Tech Stocks Fell Today).
However, after months of gains, profit taking is to be expected, and at least in the case of Facebook, it does not appear that the fundamental picture has changed much. We expect the company to report earnings again on July 26—this report will be integral in determining whether Facebook can establish a new range.
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