Jefferies raises its price target on Facebook due to its ‘best-in-class’ ad offerings

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the F8 Facebook Developers conference on May 1, 2018 in San Jose, California.

Facebook’s market leading position in the advertising market is unmatched, according to Jefferies.

The firm raised its price target to $240 from $215 for Facebook shares, predicting its second-quarter sales results will be above expectations. Jefferies also reiterated its buy rating for the company.

“We see continued strength from advertisers seeking the best ROI online and FB continuing to deliver best-in-class capabilities for advertisers,” analyst Brent Thill said in a note to clients Friday. Facebook’s “continued strength in pricing, growth in Instagram provides upside to 2Q numbers.”

Facebook shares are roughly unchanged Friday.

The analyst said the recently launched video offering for Instagram called IGTV will offer new monetization prospects for Facebook. He noted his checks with advertisers revealed higher pricing for the company’s ads.

As a result, Thill predicts Facebook will generate second-quarter revenue of $13.303 billion versus the $13.287 billion consensus estimate.

Facebook shares declined by more than 10 percent in March after media coverage that data from tens of millions of Facebook profiles were improperly accessed by research firm Cambridge Analytica before the 2016 election. The data mishandling spurred international probes, an internal audit and an overhaul of Facebook’s privacy policies. The company has admitted it didn’t do enough to protect users’ privacy and vowed to improve.

The company’s stock has since recovered all of those losses.

Facebook shares are up 17 percent so far this year through Thursday versus the S&P 500’s 5 percent return. It is slated to report its second-quarter earnings results on July 25.



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