Social media and technology company Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) reported fourth-quarter financial results Thursday after market close.
Analysts are sizing up the results, which included earnings per share and revenue coming in ahead of Street estimates and the company announcing its first quarterly dividend.
The META Analysts:
- Goldman Sachs analyst Eric Sheridan has a Buy rating and raised the price target from $414 to $500.
- Guggenheim analyst Michael Morris has a Buy rating and raises the price target from $380 to $520.
- Roth MKM analyst Rohit Kulkarni has a Buy rating and raises the price target from $365 to $500.
- Wedbush analyst Scott Devitt has an Outperform rating and raises the price target from $420 to $520.
- Truist Securities analyst Youssef Squali has a Buy rating and raised the price target from $405 to 4525.
- Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein has an Outperform rating and raises the price target from $385 to $525.
Goldman Sachs: The company posted revenue acceleration and product innovation in the last fiscal year, Sheridan said.
“While there will likely be debates about the potential of how META’s revenue run rate might decelerate throughout 2024, we see this earnings report as allowing investors to put prior questions around platform strength behind us,” Sheridan said.
Meta’s last fiscal year was the “year of efficiency,” Sheridan says. It reset the company as a leaner organization and helped lay out the next five to ten years of investment cycles.
“For the second consecutive quarter, management’s tone leaves us with increased confidence in a balance being struck across current period growth opportunities, long-term growth opportunities and capital returns.”
Guggenheim: Calling the fourth quarter “efficiency encore,” Morris said there was advertising strength and outperformance from Meta.
“Notably, pricing returned to growth for the first time since 4Q21, while the company moderates incremental ad unit growth,” Morris said.
The analyst said Meta sees opportunity to further monetize its engaged user base.
Morris also sees the pricing power displayed by Meta in the quarter as a positive for peer company Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP), which was upgraded to Buy recently by the analyst.
The analyst said Meta has a “unique consumer scale” and continues to benefit from growth in advertising, including strong spending from Chinese companies.
Roth MKM: The fourth-quarter earnings report from Meta was “one for the ages” according to Kulkarni.
“Meta exceeded the most optimistic 4Q expectations and guided to accelerating 1Q growth, well above buy-side estimates,” Kulkarni said.
The analyst said investors should buy on strength with shares trading at around 21x 2025 estimated earnings per share. The company’s dividend announcement could also bring in new investors.
“We see a bigger unlock of a new category of shareholders now considering META shares which could drive share price higher, particularly given reasonable growth-adjusted valuation, and being the least expensive of the Magnificent 7.”
Wedbush: The fourth quarter results from Meta showed accelerating revenue and accelerating profit, Devitt said.
“While 4Q results delivered modest upside to our/Street estimates, the company’s outlook for 1Q was materially ahead of expectations with revenue growth guided to +25% year-over-year at the midpoint of the range,” Devitt said.
The analyst said Meta has several sustainable drivers in place to support additional growth. This includes increased advertising monetization, bringing in more artificial intelligence tools and strength of industry digital advertising.
“Meta remains our top digital advertising pick and we are raising estimates following results.”
Truist: After the fourth quarter results, Squali asked what’s not to like about Meta.
“Growth, profits, buyback & dividends all in one,” Squali said.
The analyst said the results and guidance from Meta show accelerated growth for the digital advertising sector.
“We expect Meta to continue to lean in heavily on AI and AR/VR investments in FY24 to fuel its discover engine, Reels and the Metaverse as long-term competitive advantages.”
Oppenheimer: Helfstein highlighted Meta’s growth of users and time spent on apps.
The analyst said Reels is taking share of consumer time spent, which could be a future catalyst.
“While Reels not monetizing at rates of Feeds/Stories, ad prices still +2% y/y, first positive quarter since 4Q21,” Helfstein said.
The analyst said AI helps with advertising. There is increased demand from advertisers as shown in the fourth quarter results.
META Price Action: Meta shares are up 21% to $479.47 on Friday, hitting new 52-week highs. Shares of Meta are up over 200% in the last year.