Meta climbs to record after analyst lifts price target, says company ‘has too many advantages to count’

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Meta climbs to record after analyst lifts price target, says company ‘has too many advantages to count’


Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the Meta Connect event at Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Sept. 27, 2023.

Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Meta shares rose as much as 4.6% on Thursday and climbed to a record after analysts at two firms raised their price targets on the stock, citing optimism over the company’s growing market share in digital advertising.

Analysts at Jefferies lifted their price target to $585 from $550 and said Meta’s gain in the ad market will increase this year. RBC Capital Markets analysts raised their target to $600 from $565 in a note on Wednesday. Among the roughly 50 price targets tracked by FactSet, RBC’s estimate is tied for the highest along with that of both Wells Fargo and First Shanghai.

After a brutal 2022, Meta’s stock skyrocketed as of early last year, when CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that 2023 would be the “year of efficiency.” The company pursued hefty cost cuts, including the elimination of thousands of jobs, and focused on improving its ad business through artificial intelligence. Zuckerberg said in February of this year that he intends to “keep things lean” going forward.

“Meta has too many advantages to count,” the Jefferies analysts wrote. The decision to invest $27 billion in capital expenditures last year “has helped the company develop several strategic advantages over its peers.”

Additionally, the analysts said Meta could capture as much as 50% of incremental industry ad dollars this year, an increase from 33% in 2023. They also predicted Meta could outgrow Amazon‘s ad business for the first time since 2015.

Amazon has emerged as a major player in digital ads in recent years, as third-party sellers have been forced to spend heavily on the platform to promote their products and maintain visibility with consumers.

In RBC’s report, analysts at the firm highlighted Meta’s market share gains in comparison with top rival Google‘s gains. They said they’ve seen some “advertiser resistance” to Google’s efforts to push its Performance Max or “Pmax” ad campaigns, which the company introduced a few years ago to let brands automate ad purchases across multiple platforms.

For return on ad spend and AI performance, RBC said “META indicated as strongly as we’ve ever heard over GOOGL on a relative basis.”

The analysts said Meta is likely benefiting the most from any spending that’s exiting TikTok, which faces a potential ban in the U.S.

As of midafternoon Thursday, Meta shares were up 2% to $517.30. They’re up about 46% for the year after almost tripling in 2023.

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