Facebook will lead a surge in tech stocks next year with a 30 percent gain, Evercore ISI says

Key Points
  • Evercore ISI initiates coverage on Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet at outperform.
  • "Today's leading tech companies are leveraging the internet to disrupt and take profits from large established industries," wrote analyst Anthony DiClemente.
  • As the only "FANG" stock that did not receive an outperform rating, Netflix may be forced to flex its pricing muscle in the U.S. as subscriber growth ebbs, the analyst noted.
The Facebook Inc. logo is displayed with price valuations on monitors during trading at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York, U.S., on Friday, May 18, 2012.
Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Social media giant Facebook will lead the "FANG" stocks higher in 2018 with no correction in sight, according to Evercore ISI.

In fact, given the large addressable markets that are on the cusp of disruption, analyst Anthony DiClemente argues that the next wave of technology growth could be even larger than the last.

"Today's leading tech companies are leveraging the internet to disrupt and take profits from large established industries, a dynamic that is driving real earnings and free cash flow growth," DiClemente wrote to clients on Tuesday. "Beyond that, smartphone ubiquity, the transition from offline to digital marketplaces, and continued growth in user adoption of emerging/established digital platforms are providing fuel for the next legs of growth."

The analyst, who worked previously for Nomura Instinet, initiated coverage on a slew of companies in the space Wednesday with most of the so-called FANG stocks among his favorites.

By issuing a $225 price target on Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant Facebook, the analyst believes that the company's shares will rise 30 percent over the next year.

"Between 2013 and 2017, the share of web traffic coming via Facebook has grown five-fold to exceed 40 percent, during this same period the value of the overall digital ecosystem has effectively doubled," wrote DiClemente. "Perhaps the most striking dynamic within social media is the incredible growth of Instagram over the past three years. Based on the company's disclosure in late September, Instagram's user base now stands at 800mn, a four-fold increase relative to just three years prior."

Investors have also been keeping a close eye on Facebook's digital video ambitions, including its new "Watch" platform and ventures into sports content. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that the company is willing to spend up to $1 billion on original video content.

As for Amazon, DiClemente was also quite optimistic on everything from Amazon Web Services to Alexa and Prime Instant Video. His $1,350 price target reflects 18 percent upside over the next 12 months.

"Within both e-commerce and cloud computing, Amazon has established itself as the clear market leader," he added. "Amazon's competitive advantage, driven by its vast global infrastructure should ensure continued attractive returns in our view."

DiClemente also issued an outperform rating on Google parent Alphabet accompanied by a $1,230 price target, representing 21 percent upside over the next 12 months. With the ongoing shift to mobile platforms and web searches, the analyst argues that Google will "outpace" the growth of the overall search industry.

As the only FANG stock that did not receive an outperform rating, Netflix may be facing a maturing subscriber base in the U.S., the analyst noted.

While DiClemente sees a long runway for subscriber growth overseas, a possible slowdown in domestic user growth may force the company to consider its price power. In October, Netflix announced that its $10/month high-definition plan now costs $11, sending shares soaring at the time of the announcement.

To be sure, the analyst's $210 price target does spell meaningful, 14 percent upside for the company over the next year.