- Facebook reported its Q3 earnings on Wednesday, blowing past analysts' expectations.
- It warned that it's going to invest heavily in security — but analysts aren't worried by the news.
- Across the board, analysts are upping their price target for the stock and urging clients to invest.
On Wednesday, Facebook announced its earnings for the third quarter of 2017 — and it absolutely crushed it.
It blew past analysts' expectations, hitting $10 billion (£7.5 billion) in quarterly revenue for the first time (versus an expected $9.84 billion), while its earnings-per-share (EPS) was $1.59 ($1.28 expected).
But these results were tempered with a warning: Facebook says it plans to invest in security so much in the coming months, it's going to hurt the company's bottom line. "I am dead serious about this," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings call.
After reaching all-time highs earlier in the day, the social networks' stock dropped 2% in after-hours trading on the news — but analysts aren't worried.
In research notes to clients, analysts from investment banks and financial firms across the board are painting a rosy picture of Facebook's future, often upping their price targets for the stock and urging people to invest.
"Security and investment will get the headlines, but what matters more is the video strategy," Macquarie wrote. "If it works, we see continued upside for FB."
Baird shrugged off the additional investment as "prudent steps," while Jeffries agreed: "Conservative guide doesn't phase us. One of our top [large chip] picks."
Only one of the analysts' notes Business Insider reviewed actually lowered its price target — Credit Suisse, which modestly reduced it from the already-very-bullish $235 (£177) to $230 (£173). (Facebook's stock currently sits at around $182, while the majority of analysts' targets are around the $200-210 mark.)
In short: Facebook been in the firing line recently over how Russian operatives exploited the platform to spread misinformation and propaganda to more than 120 million Americans — but investors and analysts aren't worried.
As Citi said: "[Facebook management] can be criticized for not being proactive enough, we view its current handling of the Russia-related issues as responsible and immaterial to the financial outlook."
Keep reading to see a complete round-up of analysts' reactions to Facebook's Q3 earnings, but first, here are the key numbers:
- Revenue: $10.33 billion (£7.8 billion) vs. $9.84 billion (£7.4 billion) expected, up 47% from the year-ago period.
- EPS (GAAP): $1.59 (£1.20) vs. $1.28 (£0.97) expected, up 77% from the year-ago period.
- Monthly active users: 2.07 billion, up from 2.01 billion last quarter.
- Daily active users: 1.37 billion, up from 1.32 billion last quarter.
Credit Suisse: BULLISH
Price target: $230 (previously $235)
Comment: "Our investment thesis remains unchanged: 1) Facebook will be able to drive long term revenue growth without a material lift in ad loads, 2) Street models continue to underestimate the long-term monetization potential of upcoming new products (Graph Search), 3) optionality/upward bias to estimates from multiple other products including Messenger and WhatsApp."
Price target: $225 (previously $215)
Comment: "FB is growing nearly 2x the rate of its large cap internet peers while delivering 50%+ operating margins and the stock is up nearly 59% YTD. FB remains our top large cap internet pick and we think that momentum in the name can continue through the end of the year. We see upside to ARPU, MAUs, and Instagram and continue to watch potential margin compression, testing on Video, and investment in security."
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey: BULLISH
Price target: $210
Comment: "These results show market share gains not only from traditional Media companies, but from digital platforms as well; and as we've been suggesting, value and market share gains within IDM continue to accrue to the largest players."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider