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Facebook looks ‘radioactive’ after brutal sell-off, says market watcher


Should you catch the Facebook falling knife?

One market strategist has a message for investors looking to dip their toes back into the Facebook water in light of its 8 percent skid this week: Too unstable to touch.

"The stock right now is no doubt radioactive, and I think it probably faces a tremendous amount of headwinds as we go forward," Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management, said Tuesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Facebook shares have plunged since a weekend expose found data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of users to help President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Profile information from 50 million Facebook users had been compromised, raising concerns over how the social media giant handles its customers' privacy.

Now, Facebook is facing more regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. and U.K. American and British lawmakers have called on CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain how such a breach of privacy happened.

Schlossberg says Facebook's weakness stems from more than regulatory pressure. The bad headlines also threaten its core business.

"Its growth amongst millennials has really slowed, and millennials are going to find this whole story toxic to the brand," he said.

Facebook contrarians have raised the concern of shifting demographics for years. As the social platform aged, younger users have gravitated toward newer alternatives, such as Snapchat and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. The company is expected to see a 5.6 percent to 9.3 percent decline in users under 25 in 2018, according to eMarketer.

"On the other hand, Facebook is much more than just Facebook — it's also Instagram and WhatsApp," said Schlossberg. "Eventually it's going to become a tremendously good value. But right now I would definitely stay away because the risks are still not fully known."

Beyond the fundamentals, the technicals story suggests Facebook might be due for a bounce, though a short-lived one, according to Matt Maley, equity strategist at MillerTabak. Its volume has spiked over the previous two days, suggesting to Maley it may have been oversold. Share prices were 1.3 percent higher on Wednesday.

Maley finds it difficult to overlook the barrage of bad news pummeling the company. Rather than buying on weakness, he says it might be better to sell on any bounce.

"It just seems to be a lot of headwinds out there and a lot of unknowns," said Maley. "You may not want to dump the stock here. Look for a little bit of a bounce. But it may not last too long."

Facebook shares are on track to end the week with losses of nearly 10 percent, its worst week in four years. Its shares are in a correction after falling 14 percent from its all-time intraday high set at the beginning of February.