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On Wednesday 22 April, after the markets have closed, Facebook is due to release its first-quarter figures. The year-on-year first-quarter adjusted earnings are called to increase from $0.34 up to $0.403, while the company’s sales are called to improve by 42.5% from $2.502 billion up to $3.566 billion. These year-on-year figures should also see the company’s pre-tax profits jump by 67.25% from $1.075 billion in 2014, up to $1.798 billion in 2015.
Institutional analysis is still strongly bullish on the internet firm, with 47 buy recommendations, seven holds, and only one sell. The average price target for the next 12 months is $92.67 – still some 12.75% above the current market share price.
Arguably, the area where Facebook has shown the greatest skill ahead of its counterparts in the social media arena is being able to monetise its huge user base.
Last month Facebook confirmed that it has 2 million active advertisers in the last 8 months, up from 1.5 million. This partly explains how the shares hit an all-time high in February of $86.07. Facebook has also embarked on acquisitions, and WhatsApp is shaping up to be the best of the bunch.
Last week, WhatsApp’s CEO confirmed that it had 800,000,000 monthly active users – an increase of 100 million users from the beginning of the year. This is the second largest number of active users, second only to Facebook who have over 1 billion active monthly users. This growth, however, is not as mature as Facebook’s as it is still making a loss – $138 million last year.
Over the last three months the 50- and 100-day moving averages have proven to be supportive of the share price. Since the shares spiked in March up to an all-time high of $86.07 and moved into overbought territory, they have oscillated around $82 and are waiting for a catalyst to move higher.