Big tech companies got hit badly in last quarter’s selloff. On top of that broad volatility, Facebook has been going through its own particular troubles, most specifically related to the potential impact of its data leaks. However, all the bearishness may be in the past, and right now could be an excellent time to buy the stock, at least according to Jefferies. “FB’s status as leader in Social is unchanged and we see continued upside for FB shares as it digests the social hangover … FB remains a tier 1 platform for advertising spend with Instagram showing positive drivers of growth”, says the bank’s research team. The big growth driver is Instagram, whose revenue is growing at an estimated 60% annually. “We believe over the course of ’19, shares will slowly re-rate as rev growth & margin outlook become clearer”, says Jefferies.
FINSUM: We would tend to agree with this assessment. Despite all the concerns over data privacy, Facebook still has a very solid underlying business that is growing strongly.
Are you looking to find a good investment thesis for Amazon? Look no further than their growing private label business, which could prove a catalyst for expanding margins and share price growth. According to an analyst at Suntrust Robinson Humphrey, “The rise of private labels and exclusives is one of the least understood/most under-appreciated trends within Amazon”. He continued, “This strategy should strengthen the flywheel effect of proprietary offerings/better user experience/higher retention/spend/share gain, and should prove accretive to margins over time”. The profit margins on own-branded products are 7-15% higher than on other branded products.
FINSUM: Because of their huge user base, Amazon is in a good position to benefit from selling their own brand, as they have a ready audience. This will likely improve overall margins as the business expands.
Netflix saw a big selloff on the report of its earnings yesterday. However, don’t be fooled by the market’s reaction, the data was strong. Netflix’s big narrative right now is about whether it can expand internationally. Guess what, international subscriber numbers from yesterday’s earnings blew away expectations, with 7.3m overseas subscribers versus expectations of 6.13m. US subscribers saw a slight miss, which likely caused the price decline.
FINSUM: Netflix does seem like a good buy to us. They are raising prices and growing strongly. We don’t think the price hike will deter many customers.
Apple has a big problem on its hands. While the company debuted its new suite of iPhones last year, with the largest and most expensive models getting much of the attention. One of Apple’s work horse phones, the lower priced iPhone XR, has not been selling nearly as well as Apple hoped. The phone, which is priced well under the top models, has particularly been facing weak sales in China, Apple’s most important market. Home grown competition has stolen much of the middle market which the phone is supposed to occupy.
FINSUM: This Wall Street Journal puts it nicely—the phone is being passed over by both bargain hunters and status seekers. In other words, it doesn’t have a niche.
What should investors do about tech stocks? That is a big question. After an extraordinary run over the last couple of years, things have a hit a real rough patch. Worries about regulation loom. With that said, Goldman Sachs is optimistic on some large and midsize tech stocks. One of its high conviction picks is Netflix, which is down around 30% recently. Goldman is steadfastly a believer, however, saying “We believe Netflix represents one of the best risk/reward propositions in the Internet sector”. Other names to look at from Goldman include Expedia and Etsy.
FINSUM: What we like about these three names is that they seem the least likely to be impacted by any new privacy regulations.
There has been a lot of momentum flowing against tech stocks right now, and especially the FAANGs. Facebook has taken a great deal of the pain, with numerous headwinds facing shares. However, the reality is that the company has a very solid underlying business, and the recent volatility means it also has an attractive valuation. According to Deutsche Bank, “We continue to view Facebook as the best risk/reward in large cap internet given the potential for core Facebook engagement to stabilize … and given the extremely attractive current valuation”.
FINSUM: Facebook has been going through a very rough period over the last year, but the negative news cycle is going to abate, and when it does, the stock seems likely to gain.