Facebook Rises as JPMorgan Recommends Looking Past Controversies

(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. extended a three-day winning streak as JPMorgan told clients that a “compelling” valuation and accelerating earnings growth will help the stock move past scandals and controversies.

The firm outlined the reasons why Facebook is one of its “2019 Best Ideas” in a research report on Tuesday. Analysts led by Doug Anmuth said that while investor sentiment “remains negative” amid concerns over data privacy, user metrics remain healthy and the revenue slowdown appears manageable.

“We view core FB as stickier than many think, with recent metrics mostly stable and our proprietary survey work showing solid engagement,” Anmuth wrote to clients, adding that Instagram “continues to grow rapidly.”

Facebook Rises as JPMorgan Recommends Looking Past Controversies

Facebook shares rose 2 percent at 10:31 a.m. in New York, paring earlier gains of as much as 3.5 percent.

JPMorgan reiterated its overweight rating and $195 price target, which implies upside of 41 percent from Facebook’s closing price on Monday. The average analyst price target is $187, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The bullish rating is hardly unusual. According to Bloomberg data, 41 firms recommend buying Facebook, while eight rate it a hold and just four have sell ratings on the stock.

One of those bears is from Pivotal Research Group, which has a Street-low price target of $113. On Monday, analyst Brian Wieser wrote that Facebook’s problems were “likely to worsen” in 2019, adding that while investors have “some appreciation” of the issues Facebook is dealing with, “some are too positive or otherwise looking past the scale of the risks the company faces.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.