Facebook (FB) Stock Higher Today After Analysts' Insight on Instagram Growth

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Facebook (FB) continue to climb, up 2.68% to $78.22, after analysts said its photo and video sharing social platform Instagram could grow to one-third the size of Facebook in two years.

"Instagram reported passing 300 million monthly active users (MAU) approximately nine months after reporting 200 million MAUs, as the platform continues to benefit from its tie-in with Facebook" Topeka Capital analysts said after Instagram announced a user milestone yesterday.

"Instagram is now one-fifth the size of FB but could reach 500M users in two years to reach one-third the size of Facebook. At that level, the monetization and valuation implications are significant," they said, maintaining their "buy" rating and $96 price target on the stock.

Instagram was acquired by Facebook for approximately $1 billion in 2012.

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 stock itself is trading at a premium valuation."

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

  • FB's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 28.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 59.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost 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 12.65, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 76.47% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 54.75% 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

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