Facebook Soars on Price Target Increase, FireEye Tanks on Downgrade: Tech Winners & Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) surged following a price target increase from Piper Jaffray. FireEye (FEYE) plunged after a downgrade by UBS. Twitter (TWTR) edged lower after the company announced it is seeking a full-time CEO, basically eliminating the odds that interim CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey stands a chance of gaining the permanent position.

Facebook soared 2.7% to close at $84.74. 

The social networking giant jumped after Piper Jaffray raised the company's price target to $120 from $92, noting Facebook is the "next computer paradigm of virtual reality" and investing in its stock is one of the best plays to get into the sector. 

Piper Jaffray's analyst Gene Munster specifically points to Facebook's acquisition of Oculus. He noted virtual reality (VR) goggle maker Oculus is not reflected in Facebook's stock price, according to a report in Barron's. Muster's comments, cited in the Barron's report, said:

Our revised price target is based on Oculus as an insurance policy on the relevance of Facebook's social portfolio as technology shifts, which we believe warrants a higher target multiple on shares (34x from 30x) and the resultant $28 increase in our price target. This insurance approach is a unique perspective on Oculus. Our conversations with the buy side suggest investors think of Oculus as a product company, and generally value Oculus at around $5 billion of FB's $233 billion market cap. While our updated target for shares of FB driven by Oculus and the VR opportunity may seem aggressive given FB paid $2 billion for Oculus last year, we believe it is justified long term given Oculus gives FB the best position to capitalize on the VR theme. 


FireEye plunged 2.3% to end the session at $52.43, on a day when the broader markets advanced.

The security software vendor took a hit after UBS downgraded the company to neutral from buy. In making that call, UBS noted FireEye's shares have risen 70% year-to-date and that large software security firms will face increasing competition and higher expectations.

According to a report in 24/7 Wall St., the consensus price target for FireEye is $50.33, with a 52-week price range spanning $24.81 to $55.33.


Twitter edged down 0.8% to finish the day at $35.56.

The social media company took a slight hit after Twitter's board of directors not only hired executive search firm Spencer Stuart but also issued a statement that it will only consider a new CEO who is willing to make a "full-time" commitment to the company, according to report in Forbes.

Currently, Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey is serving as interim CEO, while simultaneously holding the CEO role at Square, another company he founded. As a result, either Dorsey will have to make a choice between his two babies, or make that choice through inaction and just wait for the Twitter board to name a new permanent Twitter CEO.

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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