Wall Street is loving Facebook Inc.  (FB) - Get Report earnings results out Wednesday afternoon. 

The stock was soaring 12.5% to $169.25 a share in the late morning Thursday. 

Facebook is RealMoney's stock of the day. How can Facebook charge even higher in 2019? 

Facebook beat earnings estimates, posting earnings-per-share of $2.38, beating estimates of $2.20. Revenue was $16.91 billion, beating expectations of $16.39 billion. Daily active users grew 9% year-over-year, a deceleration compared to last year's 14% increase. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings conference call that Instagram stories now have 500 million daily active users, up 25% from six months ago. Management noted that revenue may not grow at a rapid pace this year as Facebook continues to build demand for Instagram ads, but that in time, Instagram's ad prices should rise significantly as that demand builds. Facebook also confirmed its operating expense growth for the year of between 40% and 50%. 

More than a dozen sell side analysts raised their price targets on the stock. The average analyst price target on Facebook is now up to $192 a share, representing almost 14% upside. Previously the average price target was around $185. 

Morgan Stanley 

Analyst Brian Nowak raised his price target to $190 a share from $175. "Results showed evidence that stories is starting to drive higher engagement and monetization," Nowak wrote in a note out Thursday morning. User and monetization growth on stories is crucial for the bull case for Facebook, as several analysts pointed out to close the month of January. He noted that ad impression growth was 34% year-over-year and that ad pricing has considerable upside, fueling his bullish view. Nowak's 2019 GAAP EPS projection rose 4% to $7.43. 


Analyst Douglas Anmuth raised his price target to $210 from $195. "Sheryl {Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg} highlighted that 4Q was a quarter in which FB showed it could focus on both security and the business side together, which was evident in results," Anmuth wrote in a note out Thursday morning. Based on comments made by some Facebook executives, Anmuth is expecting "less margin compression in 2020 with what we expect will be meaningful re-acceleration in EPS." Facebook has increaed its headcount as a result of the recent data and security scares, which has put pressure on margins.

Anmuth raised his GAAP EPS expectation for 2019 to $7.92 from $7.47. 

Goldman Sachs 

Analyst Heather Bellini's note out Thursday morning began by saying Facebook is "looking more like its old self." 

Bellini raised her 2019 revenue estimate to $70.01 billion from $69.8 billion. She maintained her price target of $195 a share. 

RBC Capital Markets

RBC's Mark Mahaney moved his price target to $200 a share from $190 Tuesday, the day before Facebook earnings. He reiterated his position on the social media giant, but highlighted one risk. "We could be in a period of sustained re- rating as the worst FB fears appear not to have been realized," he said. 

For even more insight on Facebook's 2019 outlook, see here