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Facebook shares to rally 45% by the end of next year, Credit Suisse predicts

  • Credit Suisse introduced a 2018 forecast for Facebook that represents a 45 percent gain from Friday's close.
  • The research firm also raised its 12-month target to $180 from $175, representing 19 percent upside.
  • Facebook, which is up over 30 percent year to date, is set to report on second quarter results on July 26 after market close.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Credit Suisse believes Facebook shares will rally 45 percent by the end of next year as the social media giant continues to perfect how to target customers for advertisers.

Credit Suisse introduced its 2018 price target at $220. The market research firm also raised its 12-month price target from $175 to $180, representing 19 percent upside from Friday's close of $151.44.

"The slowdown in ad impressions in conjunction with the acceleration in ad price growth rates reported on the 1Q17 results were strong-enough signals for us to be starting to think about upside potential to 2H17 advertising revenue," wrote Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju in Monday's note.

"As our conversations with advertisers suggest incremental ad price acceleration for 2Q17 … we recommend investors buy FB shares ahead of the potential higher reset to 2H estimates."

Facebook is up over 30 percent year to date and will report on second quarter results on July 26 after the market closes.

Credit Suisse also gave a "blue sky scenario" where the stock rises as high as $280.

The firm also raised its earnings per share estimate to $5.08 from $4.98 for the current year. Ju noted that advertisers anticipate increased ad price acceleration in the second quarter, driven primarily by Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT), which allow advertisers to target Facebook users who have recently browsed hotels or booked a flight with user-specific content. Increases in the price and effectiveness of ads could mean huge gains for Facebook's bottom line.

"We believe that advertisers are getting more sophisticated and beginning to adopt more of the precision targeting options on the platform," Ju added. "We expect budgets to grow meaningfully on a year-over-year as well as on a sequential basis."

According to the Credit Suisse report, both Facebook and Google continue to suggest that they have been taking steps to broaden their relationships with brick and mortar retailers. Given that 90 percent of total retailer spending still occurs offline, noted Ju, retailers should look to Facebook and Google as "primary weapons" in increasing advertisement and foot traffic.

Facebook recently celebrated 2 billion users and has consistently made headlines for its recent projects, including adding a 1,500-unit village to it California headquarters, developing speech recognizing technology, and setting the stage to produce original television content.

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