Despite the scandals and controversies, Facebook analysts agree on one thing: The social media giant keeps growing with no sign of slowing down.
Analysts also agree that by all metrics, the company exceeded expectations posting strong fourth-quarter numbers after the bell on Wednesday.
Analysts pointed out that advertisers continue to spend money on the platform with record user growth and revenue still increasing and maybe things aren't as bad as feared. "We've started to turn a corner and have a clear plan for what we need to do now," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the earnings call.
Shares of the company were up more than 11 percent at the open.
Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak titled his note, "This story is starting to get good," and raised his price target to $190. He went on to say, "Facebook's strong finish to 2018 – across the board 4Q revenue, EBIT, EPS and active user beats – speaks to the strength of its engagement, ad offering and ability to drive earnings power ... even while navigating public scrutiny and aggressively investing to improve its platform safety/security, product offerings, and monetization."
Evercore ISI analyst Anthony DiClemente said, "while growth should continue to slow near-term, longer term opportunities remain compelling as does broader bull thesis."
Bank of America's Justin Post went so far as to say: "While the 2019 margin outlook will continue to draw questions, we think 1Q revenue outlook appears conservative with upside potential."
Mark Mahaney from RBC raised his price target, saying: "We feel we could be in a period of sustained rerating as the worst Facebook fears appear not to have been realized."
UBS analyst Eric Sheridan had a slightly different take, pointing out that, "while management tone and operating strength is now better than mid-2018, we remain on the sidelines as the move from Q4 lows (~$130) to current stock price (~$170) has already provided a solid rebound ahead of 2019 (which still contains product/platform transition & regulatory volatility that should be factored into the risk/reward)."
Here's what the other analysts think: