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Facebook: A Bull Story or a Bear Feast?

Thursday, 31 Jan 2013 | 12:26 PM ET
No Huddle Offense: Facebook Bulls vs. Bears
Mad Money host Jim Cramer shares his final thoughts of the day.

Talk to market pros about Facebook and chances are they'll either tell you Facebook is horrible or it's terrific. There's no in-between..

"How can there be such extremes, and there are mostly extremes," said Jim Cramer. "There seems to be no middle ground at all with this stock".

And clearly, they can't both be right.

In an attempt to better understand the phenomenon, Cramer said it was important to understand why the bulls are so certain the stock is going higher while the bears are equally certain it's already overvalued.


Cramer started with the bear case.

"The bears, including lots of analysts who were bullish going into the quarter and subsequently downgraded the stock are hyper-focused on the fact that the company is spending like a drunken sailor and may not have all that much to show for it," Cramer explained.

"These investors want results now. As Facebook reports earnings, they don't want to hear Mark Zuckerberg say, "'We aren't operating to maximize our profit this year. We're doing what we think will build the best service and business over the long-term.'"

Cramer said that kind of talk is the proverbial kiss of death for traders with a relatively short-term time horizon.


An image of Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, with Robert Greifeld, chief executive officer of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. remotely ringing the opening bell for trading is projected on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.
Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images
An image of Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., left, with Robert Greifeld, chief executive officer of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. remotely ringing the opening bell for trading is projected on a screen at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York.

Ironically the bulls look at the same exact statement from Zuckerberg and get excited.

"They see Facebook as the next Amazon, a company with such a huge growth path that the smartest thing the company can do is spend now and harness the growth potential," said Cramer.

"The bulls are thinking not about earnings this year, which they don't care about in the least, but to the out-years, say 2015, where the spending will begin to pay off. They are patient, as they were with Amazon, which became one of the great performers of all time simply because its visionary founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, never wavered in having a long-term vision," Cramer explained.

Cramer added that ironically Facebook bulls would grow skeptical if Facebook weren't spending. "To them, that would mean that the hyper-growth phase is already over and they would be stuck with another Intel or Microsoft, played out stocks that just generate a lot of cash but little growth," Cramer added.

Of course, the billion dollar question is – who's right?

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Read More from Cramer:
Cramer: Love Amazon & Hate Apple?
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Although there's no certain answer, we can tell you where Jim Cramer stands.

In a market where growth matters more than just about anything, "I think ultimately the bulls have more firepower than the bears and therefore I think the stock can go higher. However, it has come up so far so fast, I also think that the pace will be labored."

Therefore, "at current levels call me a skeptic, said Cramer. At a lower price, call me a buyer."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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