Today, stock analysts from companies that worked on Facebook's IPO are freed up to flaunt the fundamental rules of the space-time continuum by pouring forth their opinions on what's going to happen with the company's stock -- in the, you know, future...
The Wall Street analysts who know Facebook best are giving the company's stock a mixed review. Think: like, not love.
A flood of analyst reports from the banks that led Facebook's initial public offering gave the company's stock a mix of ``Neutral'' and ``Buy'' ratings on Wednesday. The day marks the end of a 40-day quiet period following the IPO, during which the underwriters aren't allowed to issue ratings.
Morgan Stanley, the lead bank in the IPO, gave a $38 target price for Facebook's stock over the next 12 months. That's the same as the IPO price Facebook has failed to match since its first day of trading. The analyst says Facebook has long-term opportunities in mobile despite decent concerns.
And from the Wall Street Journal:
By midmorning, analysts at eight banks, including the three lead underwriters Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan Chaseand Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had rated the stock a "buy." Another nine dubbed the shares a "hold," and one, BMO Capital Markets bestowed the equivalent of a rare "sell" rating on the stock.
Price targets for analysts who provided them Wednesday ranged from $25 to $45, with the average $37.71. That figure was just a hair lower than the consensus for analysts at firms uninvolved in the offering who had previously began covering the company. It was also shy of the $38 price at which underwriting banks initially sold Facebook shares.
A price target reflects what an analyst thinks a share will be worth, usually within a 12-to-18-month period. While not all reports Wednesday specified a time frame, those that did generally pointed to that period.
The Journal has also posted a chart of today's analyst ratings and price targets. The top bull is J.P. Morgan, whose analyst pegs the future stock value at $45 per share. The biggest party pooper is from BMO, who offered a chintzy $25 target.
Then there's this guy, Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital and a Forbes columnist, who said this three weeks ago on CNBC:
"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared," Jackson said. "Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared."
More analyst opinions at Yahoo! Finance.
Coming up: An interview with Sam Hamadeh of IPO research firm Privco, who pegged the fair value of Facebook shares at $25 and still does. He minced no words in offering the opinion that you have to take the ratings of analysts who work for firms doing o business with the companies they rate with several grains of salt.