Where Will Facebook Go Next?

With shares of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) trading around $54, is FB an OUTPERFORM, WAIT AND SEE, or STAY AWAY? Let’s analyze the stock with the relevant sections of our CHEAT SHEET investing framework.

T = Trends for a Stock’s Movement

Facebook is engaged in building social products in order to create utility for users, developers, and advertisers. People use Facebook to stay connected with their friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world around them, and to share and express what matters to them with the people they care about. Developers can use the Facebook platform to build applications and websites that integrate with Facebook to reach its global network of users, building personalized and social products. Advertisers can engage with more than 900 million monthly active users on Facebook — or subsets of its users — based on information they have chosen to share.

It’s been two weeks since The Conversation published its report claiming that Facebook as a social network is “dead and buried,” but some are still not willing to let the argument go. Following The Conversation’s ”Facebook’s so uncool, but it’s morphing into a different beast,” Quartz published a scathing rebuke of the report on Monday, calling the story an “inaccurate report that goes viral on social media before the accurate version has a chance to catch up.”

T = Technicals on the Stock Chart Are Strong

Facebook stock has been exploding to the upside in recent years. The stock is currently trading near all-time highs and looks set to continue this path. Analyzing the price trend and its strength can be done using key simple moving averages. What are the key moving averages? The 50-day (pink), 100-day (blue), and 200-day (yellow) simple moving averages. As seen in the daily price chart below, Facebook is trading above its rising key averages, which signals neutral to bullish price action in the near-term.

FB

Source: Thinkorswim

Taking a look at the implied volatility (red) and implied volatility skew levels of Facebook options may help determine if investors are bullish, neutral, or bearish.

Implied Volatility (IV)

30-Day IV Percentile

90-Day IV Percentile

Facebook options

51.39%

96%

93%

What does this mean? This means that investors or traders are buying a very significant amount of call and put options contracts as compared to the last 30 and 90 trading days.

Put IV Skew

Call IV Skew

February Options

Flat

Average

March Options

Flat

Average

As of Thursday, there is average demand from call buyers or sellers and low demand by put buyers or high demand by put sellers, all neutral to bullish over the next two months. To summarize, investors are buying a very significant amount of call and put option contracts and are leaning neutral to bullish over the next two months.

On the next page, let’s take a look at the earnings and revenue growth rates and the conclusion.

E = Earnings Are Increasing Quarter Over Quarter

Rising stock prices are often strongly correlated with rising earnings and revenue growth rates. Also, the last four quarterly earnings announcement reactions help gauge investor sentiment on Facebook’s stock. What do the last four quarterly earnings and revenue growth (Y-O-Y) figures for Facebook look like and more importantly, how did the markets like these numbers?

2013 Q3

2013 Q2

2013 Q1

2012 Q4

Earnings Growth (Y-O-Y)

108.33%

58.33%

0%

-89.46%

Revenue Growth (Y-O-Y)

59.75%

53.13%

37.81%

40.14%

Earnings Reaction

2.44%

29.61%

5.61%

-0.83%

Facebook has seen increasing earnings and revenue figures over the last four quarters. From these numbers, the markets have had conflicting feelings about Facebook’s recent earnings announcements.

P = Excellent Relative Performance Versus Peers and Sector

How has Facebook stock done relative to its peers – Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD) — and sector?

Facebook

Microsoft

Google

LinkedIn

Sector

Year-to-Date Return

1.47%

-0.16%

-0.03%

-3.33%

-1.51%

Facebook has been a relative performance leader, year to date.

Conclusion

Facebook looks to provide a valuable social networking experience to its users, developers, and advertisers. The stock has been exploding to the upside and is now trading near all-time high prices. Over the last four quarters, earnings and revenues have been increasing. However, investors have had mixed feelings about recent earnings announcements. Relative to its peers and sector, Facebook has been a year-to-date performance leader. Look for Facebook to continue to OUTPERFORM.

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