Facebook's Long-Term Growth Story Remains Intact, Analyst Says in Note
Mark Zuckerberg lost billions of dollars in one day, but don't worry too much about him.

Despite recent hiccups, Facebook's  (FB)  long-term prospects for growth are still solid.

At least that's what one of the stock's biggest bulls says. 

"[Facebook] shares and expectations are appropriately set to allow for longer-term outperformance and [we] view near-term issues as transitory," Stifel analyst Scott Devitt wrote in a note to clients on Monday in which he added Facebook to his company's Select List as one of its top internet investment ideas. 

Facebook's wild ride this year continued in late July, after a disappointing earnings report sent the stock spiraling, shedding more than 20%, or $120 billion, in just one day. The European Union's GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations), one of investors' most pressing concerns about the stock, weighed on user growth, and management also slashed its full-year 2018 outlook, which was perhaps the strongest driver of the selling action.

Some investors are growing weary of U.S. tech stocks, especially FAANG stocks, which are largely priced at multiples higher than most Nasdaq listed companies. Facebook's price-to-earnings ratio is 25, vs. the Nasdaq's 23. Josh Blechman, Director of Capital Markets at Exponential ETFs, told TheStreet that U.S. tech's market cap weight makes it "the highest single-sector concentration since the tech bubble." And ROBO Global President and CIO Bill Studebaker told TheStreet that FAANG stocks are incredibly risky and trade on inflated valuations. 

But tech has come back some since Facebook's earnings disaster. And the social media giant has several tremendous growth engines that make it attractive, Devitt said. "Facebook has a number of multi-year catalysts ahead to support a 20% five-year revenue compound annual growth rate," he said.

For Devitt, the reason is simple; Facebook has more than just its core platform. It has Instagram, What'sApp, and other sub-platforms on both Facebook and Instagram. "Facebook has its own set of multi-year growth drivers: core Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Watch / Instagram TV, WhatsApp, and Stories (among others)," Devitt said.

On Instagram, in particular, monetization has only just begun. "Instagram will monetize at roughly half the level of core Facebook's (ex-Instagram) annual average ad revenue per daily active user," Devitt wrote. He believes Instagram, which he forecasts an average revenue per user (ARPU) of $15 for 2018, will see ARPU hit $20 in 2020. 

For full-year 2018, Devitt is looking for $54 billion in total revenue for Facebook, but he expects that number to grow to $98 billion, by 2021 -- an increase of 81%. And Davitt also wrote that "we think the worst news for the company's margin profile has been delivered."

Devitt has a $202 per share price target on Facebook, roughly 10% above the stock's current level. On Monday early afternoon, shares were trading up 3.2% to $183.49.

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