Will This Downgrade Hurt Facebook (FB) Today?

Story updated at 9:55 a.m. to reflect market activity.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) was downgraded to "hold" from "buy" by Argus Monday.

Shares of Facebook gained 0.5% to $68.08 in morning trading.

The downgrade is due to a valuation call according to the analyst firm. Shares of Facebook closed at $67.72 Friday.

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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:

  • FB's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 63.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although FB's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.03 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 11.46, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 566.66% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 154.17% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. 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

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

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