Market Insider

Facebook shares hit new all-time high as Street cheers earnings

Facebook's big beat
Facebook's big beat

Facebook's stock rose more than 7 percent Thursday after the company crushed analysts' first-quarter expectations, and Wall Street could not be happier.

The tech behemoth reported adjusted first-quarter earnings of 77 cents per share on revenue of about $5.38 billion on Wednesday. Analysts had expected Facebook to report earnings of about 62 cents per share on $5.26 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Facebook again surpassed Johnson & Johnson, a Dow component and drugmaking giant, in terms of market cap within the .The stock also hit a new all-time intraday high of $120.79. It closed at $116.73.

Facebook's massive quarterly beat follows lackluster reports from other tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, and Google-parent Alphabet.

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Wall Street analysts were quick to cheer Facebook's quarter, with at least 10 firms raising their price targets.

Here's what some of analysts had to say after the earnings:

Deutsche Bank (rating: "buy;" price target: $160):

"We missed the call into the print and apologize for that, today we want to add to positions here as we remain bullish on the long term story."

Jefferies (rating: "buy;" price target: $160):

"It was another big beat driven by the soaring mobile ad business. User and engagement levels were at the highest levels ever, and the expense outlook remains unchanged."

Stifel (rating: "buy;" price target: $145):

"Our focus from the print is on Facebook's capital expenditures which have experienced rapid growth over the past several years as the company invests aggressively to build out its data center infrastructure. Although not included in our 'Big 3' hyperscale designation with Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon, Facebook is becoming increasingly relevant to our optical communications group given its support of the Open Compute Project and aggressive scaling of its data centers."

Morgan Stanley (rating: "overweight;" price target: $140):

"FB's ad business delivered again, growing 63% YoY (ex FX), driven by N. America. 1.65bn monthly users came in ahead, as did engagement, with users now spending 50 min/day on the platform. FB's reach, engagement, and ad offerings continue improving as it's arguably still early days."

Macquarie Research (rating: "outperform;" price target: $150):

"As we have said for years, as long as the users are there, FB will find ways to monetize. The company continues to excel at keeping users engaged while also improving ad formats, targeting and measurement for advertisers. On the engagement side, despite concerns, the key metrics proved very strong."

Citi (rating: "buy;" price target: $141):

"Despite Q1 opex growth lower than guidance, mgmt maintained its CY16 forecast, which could prove conservative. Mgmt also highlighted tougher 2H revenue comps, though we believe our forecasts account for this. We note that over the mid- to long-term FB has various opportunities to layer on new, meaningful revenue streams (e.g., Instagram, video, FAN, messaging, etc.)."

Credit Suisse (rating: "outperform;" price target: $145):

"Once again FB reported strong ad revenue growth from the ramp of new products (e.g. Instagram, Video, DPA) as well as regional adoption (continued APAC acceleration), while also demonstrating OpEx leverage as adjusted EBITDA margin once again expanded YOY despite investments into longer-term initiatives (AI, connectivity, video, VR). Management reiterated prior 2016 OpEx and Capex guidance – with the latter expected to come in at the high-end of the previously provided $4 billion to $4.5 billion range due to datacenter buildouts."

William Blair & Co. (rating: "outperform;" price target: not available):

"Going forward, we believe new products could provide 2017 EBITDA estimate revisions of 10% or more. For example, video ads could reach an inflection point in 2016; Instagram could become more incremental to overall Facebook spending in the next 12 months; and continued user growth and CPM improvements internationally could all drive estimates higher, in our view. Moreover, we continue to see at least $1 upside to 2018 Street EPS estimates from video ads on Facebook and Instagram."

— CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.

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