Why JP Morgan's top internet analyst expects breakout growth for Facebook and Amazon shares in 2019

Key Points
  • Amazon and Facebook are J. P. Morgan internet analyst Doug Anmuth's top picks for the coming year.
  • "Once Amazon gets past [the fourth quarter], we would expect growth to accelerate in early 2019," Anmuth told CNBC.
  • J. P. Morgan took a deep dive into how the firm's clients can understand the booming e-commerce business.
Facebook under fire after NYT article

Technology stocks were hurt by a "challenging earnings season" last month but that's created a window of opportunity in both Amazon and Facebook, J. P. Morgan internet analyst Doug Anmuth tells CNBC. The two tech giants are Anmuth's top picks for the coming year.

"Amazon obviously took its lumps in [the third quarter] after earnings," Anmuth said. "The key is, once Amazon gets past [the fourth quarter], we would expect growth to accelerate in early 2019."

Jeff Bezos' e-commerce empire "stands out" the most among the internet names Anmuth covers, he said in a note to clients on Thursday. J. P. Morgan believes Amazon's core retail business remains strong. The analyst also sees the company's profitability to be further driven by its Amazon Web Services and advertising businesses.

Facebook's "stock has been under a lot of pressure for a long time," Anmuth said, but the third quarter "saw numbers which showed stability in the user base." While some view Facebook "as a 1-trick pony" built around advertising, Anmuth said CEO Mark Zuckerberg's company is "clearly pushing harder"

Anmuth noted that Facebook doubled its safety and security staff to 20,000 from 10,000, saying the firm is "certainly spending a lot of money around that investment."

"I think they are taking much more serious steps than a year or two ago," Anmuth said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." He sees Facebook finding growth again in three ways: Reversing the negative tide of public opinion, further stabilizing its core user base and identifying new revenue sources.

"I think the bar has been kind of set in an appropriate place," Anmuth said.

All eyes on holiday e-commerce

The holiday shopping season has begun, and J. P Morgan took a deep dive into how investors can better understand the e-commerce world as Amazon gears up to do battle with the likes of Target, Walmart and eBay.

"I think people might miss the fact that 2018 is the third year of acceleration in e-commerce growth," Anmuth said, adding that this is a strong industry "continuing to get stronger."

Another little-known fact is that e-commerce sales are "still very much driven by desktop," Anmuth said. Only 28 percent of e-commerce is done through mobile devices, according to J. P. Morgan, with desktop dominating the remaining 72 percent.

Amazon and Target are especially competing with first time offers on shipping this holiday season. Bezos' company took off its $25 minimum for non-Prime members to get free shipping, while Target is offering free 2-day shipping.

"It was notable that this was the first time they're removing the free shipping threshold," Anmuth said. "Speaks to the competition that's happening in terms of logistics."

That's "probably a bigger shift for" Target than for Amazon, the analyst said.

Read J. P. Morgan's 2018 holiday retail outlook here.