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Jefferies Puts Facebook's 'Exceptional' Growth Into Perspective

Is Facebook's 'Exceptional' Growth Truly Exceptional? Jefferies Says Yes|NASDAQ: FB

Putting Facebook Inc FB 5.87%'s exceptional growth in perspective, Jefferies said in a research note on Thursday that the company has grown its ad business by around $1.6 billion in the past two quarters, about almost twice the size of Yelp IncNYSEYELP's business and half that of Twitter Inc TWTR 0.4%.

Primary Beneficiary Of Mobile Ad Mania

Analyst Brian Fitzgerald also noted that Facebook is growing its ad business faster than larger peer Alphabet Inc GOOG 0.83% GOOGL 0.88%. The deduction: Facebook is the primary beneficiary of new ad dollars being siphoned into mobile ad campaigns.

3Q Review

Jefferies noted that the company's third-quarter revenues rose 56 percent year-over-year and beat Street estimates, with ad business growing 59 percent. Specifically, mobile ad revenues climbed 71 percent, the analyst said.

The outperformance on the top and bottom line, according to the firm, was broad based, across all verticals, marketing segments and geographies, and reflects the operating leverage in Facebook's business. The firm is of the view that Snapchat isn't having much impact on Facebook's users, engagement or revenue.

Expense Outlook Tempered; 2017 Challenging

For the second straight year, Jefferies said Facebook trimmed its GAAP expenses expectations to the low end of its 30–35 percent target. The firm believes 2017 would be a challenging year, given the tougher compass and a stabilization in ad-loads. The company also said 2017 will be an aggressive investment year, the firm also noted.

Focus On Video

Jefferies also pointed out Facebook's focus on video, with the number of people broadcasting live video on it rising four times since May. The firm made a mention of Facebook's trial of a version of its app with a camera just one swipe away from the newsfeed and the 100 million DAU for Instagram stories.

The firm has a Buy rating and a $170 price target on the shares of Facebook.

Despite the abounding positive analysts' opinions, Facebook shares have intensified their pre-market losses and were down 5.20 percent at $120.56 at last check.

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2016Wells FargoMaintainsOutperform
Nov 2016BTIG ResearchDowngradesBuyNeutral
Nov 2016Cantor FitzgeraldMaintainsBuy

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