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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Facebook  (FB) are up 0.82% to $80.21 in afternoon trading Thursday, following a positive note by analysts at Piper Jaffray earlier today.

The firm issued a note saying the social media giant's Oculus division could be used to watch NBA and NHL games using virtual reality technology.

Piper analysts said enabling virtual reality broadcasts of NBA and NHL games would be "a meaningful step" for Oculus. Last year, Facebook acquired the virtual reality company for $2 billion.

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The firm believes that in the near future, professional sports games will be broadcast on virtual reality after they are played.

Piper Jaffray analysts maintained an "overweight" rating with an $84 price target on shares of Facebook.

In addition, Facebook added a new fill-in-the-blank gender option for its users. The site already offers 58 gender identity choices, making this its 59th.

The company believes that this change will lead to more widespread acceptance of people who don't identify themselves as a man or a woman, the Associated Press reports.

In Feb. of last year, Facebook first expanded gender identity choices on its site to a list of dozens of options including androgyne, gender fluid, intersex, neither and transgender, the AP noted.

Menlo Park, CA-based Facebook is a social networking website company, with its applications enabling customers to stay connected with their friends and family.

TheStreet's Jim Cramer and Jack Mohr had some positive things to say about the social networking site as part of their weekly roundup report, which can be found on Action Alerts Plus. Here's a snippet of what they had to say:

"It seems like investors are getting more comfortable with the company's high investment spending and lack of operating leverage, which we believe will rectify itself as the year progresses. Interestingly, data from comScore this week suggest continued strong engagement as Facebook's share of mobile Internet time excluding Instagram and WhatsApp in January was 21% (vs. 20% in December) and its share of total Internet time including desktop was 17%."

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates FACEBOOK INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FACEBOOK INC (FB) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed, some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 18.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 48.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • FB's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.01 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 9.04, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for FACEBOOK INC is currently very high, coming in at 94.31%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 18.20% trails the industry average.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry, implying reduced upside potential.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, FACEBOOK INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FB Ratings Report