This 'Magnificent 7' Standout Could Gain Another 22%, Says Analyst

Meta Platforms Inc. (META) is the world’s largest social media network, with more than 4 billion monthly active users as of Q4. The company’s portfolio of apps includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Threads, and Messenger. It helps people connect with their contacts all around the globe through the use of features such as messaging, sharing photos and videos, video calling, and more. Formerly known as Facebook, Meta changed its name back in 2021 to reflect its shifting focus toward metaverse and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Meta stock is up 37.8% this year, outperforming nearly every other “Magnificent 7” stock in the process - except for Nvidia (NVDA), up 55%. But while NVDA is down about 20% from YTD highs, META is showing some resilience, pulling back just about 8% from its 2024 peak so far.

When Meta released its Q4 results back on Feb. 1 of this year, it posted a revenue gain of 24.7% to $40.11 billion, and diluted EPS surged to $5.33 from $1.76 in the same quarter last year. Ad impressions increased 21% YoY, while the average price per ad decreased 9% YoY. 

For Q1 of 2024, Meta forecast revenue of $35.75 billion at the midpoint, which exceeded Wall Street's forecast. 

Meta is set to announce its Q1 earnings after the close this Wednesday, April 24, with analysts targeting a profit of $4.32 per share - up 63% YoY. The company has beat bottom-line estimates in each of its last four quarterly reports.

Is Meta Stock a Buy?

Meta is well-loved by analysts, and has a consensus “Strong Buy” rating among the 45 brokerage firms in coverage. The mean price target is $520.73, which indicates expected upside potential of 8.7% from current levels.

Last week, Citi raised its price target for the tech giant, noting that increasing advertisement load on its Reels video posts hasn't been a negative for engagement - a major positive for Meta right now, particularly as its primary Reels competitor, TikTok, faces a potential ban from legislators.

Citi analyst Ronald Josey wrote that Instagram Reels saw an ad load increase of 90 basis points from the previous quarter, but users were undeterred, with average minutes per daily active user up 4% over the same period. Additionally, the analyst observed that 79% of Gen Z users went on to purchase a product after viewing a Reel on the platform.

The Citi analyst is bullish on the Reels effect for Meta, and now projects 14% revenue growth for 2025, alongside an EPS forecast of $24.23. Josey's freshly hiked price target for META is $590, signifying a potential upside of more than 22% from current levels.

On the date of publication, Ruchi Gupta did not have (either directly or indirectly) positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article. All information and data in this article is solely for informational purposes. For more information please view the Barchart Disclosure Policy here.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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