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Why Facebook Stock Just Popped 6%

By Rich Smith - Mar 30, 2020 at 4:15PM

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Business is bad and will remain bad for another quarter -- then it will bounce back.

What happened

It's a new week, and despite more depressing coronavirus news over the weekend, stock markets are starting the week in the green.

Shares of Facebook (META -2.03%) are looking particularly neon today, up 5.8% as of 3:35 p.m. EDT. And strange as it may sound, the reason for this may be a couple of Wall Street analysts cutting their price targets on Facebook stock.

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So what

According to TheFly.com, today, investment banks JP Morgan and JMP Securities reduced their price targets on Facebook stock. JMP's cut was the steeper one -- down from $250 previously, versus a reduction from $225 at JP Morgan. Still, in the opinion of both analysts, Facebook stock is now worth $215 a share.

That's the bad news. The good news is that Facebook shares only cost about $166 and change today. One way of looking at this story is to say, "Oh, no! Everyone is getting more negative on Facebook." But there's also another way to look at this: Both JP Morgan and JMP Securities think Facebook stock could go up nearly 30%.

Now what

Granted, there's also the reason that these analysts cut their ratings to consider, and this is not particularly good news in the short term. Although usage of social media has spiked in this era of coronavirus-inspired stay-at-home edicts from government, retailers are reluctant to buy ads to place on social media because people are not going out to shop.

"Across the online advertising space," warns TheFly, revenue and earnings estimates are down on a reduction in "advertiser willingness to deploy ad dollars," and this situation is expected to continue throughout not just the first quarter, but the second quarter as well.

The analysts do believe, however, that things will bounce back -- perhaps as early as the third quarter. For this reason, they see the damage to Facebook's shares as overdone, and recommend buying the shares before they go back up.

Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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