Amazon.com Inc (AMZN) , Twitter Inc. (TWTR) and Snap Inc. (SNAP) are among the internet stocks whose price targets were lowered by Goldman Sachs analysts even as the investment bank said the sector will likely outperform the broader markets.
"We are updating ratings, estimates and targets across the sector largely to reflect our current outlook for each company, changes in FX, and the contraction in comparable multiples across the sector," a team of Goldman analysts wrote in a note out Friday morning. The note mentioned that the average one-year forward earnings multiple for internet companies hit a five-year low in December, of below 15.6, which does "largely reflect" underlying fundamentals.
While consumer-related stocks like Amazon have been revised downward all over Wall Street, as the economy is expected to slow down, Goldman also said social media stocks face headwinds as "regulation remains the most in focus given actions in Europe around data, privacy, and competition, as well as discussions of whether the US and other markets may follow a similar path
Still, Goldman is largely positive on internet stocks, saying they will outperform the S&P 500 in 2019, albeit with some lowered expectations for a few of the big names.
Goldman cut its price target on Amazon to $2,000 from $2,200. "Our price target (12-month) goes to $2,000 from $2,200 on revised estimates and is based on our SOTP (sum-of-the-parts) implying 25x 2019E EV/EBITDA," the analysts said. This still represents 33%, which is consistent with the thesis that internet stocks will outperform in 2019, especially if stocks remain in their doldrums.
Goldman lowered its price target on Twitter to $36 from $43 a share "to reflect the contraction in comp group multiples," the note said. Indeed, other social media multiples have come down considerably of late. Facebook Inc. (FB) is now trading at 21 times trailing earnings, much lower than the above 25 times it was trading at early in 2018.
Goldman lowered its price target on Snap to $6 a share from $10 "to reflect slower growth expectations and increased uncertainty in user trajectory."
Snap's issues are hardly about broader issues impacting the social media business. Snap has lost about 78% of its value since its IPO, as it has fallen victim to copy-cat strategies from Facebook's Instagram. Recently, Snap has seen declines in user growth, and it has failed to solve its app bug on Android devices. Snap beat expectations on earnings in October, but the user growth decline the company reported hurt the stock. "I don't know why they're not focused on it [the Android problem]," analyst Craig Huber of Huber Research Partners told TheStreet after the earnings print.
eBay Inc. (EBAY) was downgraded to 'Neutral.' Goldman cuts its price target to $32 from $34. "Given uncertainty around growth and margin expansion, specifically the company's ability to deliver low-to-mid single digit growth on reduced ad spend" eBay isn't a great pick. The analysts added "we see better opportunities with other names in Internet."