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Facebook Shares Drop Following Underwriters’ Mixed Ratings (FB)

Several Wall Street analysts acquainted with Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) are giving the social networking giant’s stock a mixed review.

While 33 banks rated Facebook’s stock a mix, giving “Neutral” and “Buy” ratings on Wednesday, one of the reviews gave it a “Sell” rating.

Wednesday marked the 40th day since Facebook’s IPO was launched.  Consequently, analysts at banks that led the IPO were finally allowed to have their say on the stock, providing a clue of what exactly underwriters feel about Facebook.

Facebook’s much hyped IPO turned out to be a debacle as its share prices slumped within few days after making its public debut.

Morgan Stanley, the lead bank in the IPO deal, set $38 as the target price for Facebook’s stock over the next 12 months. Nevertheless, Facebook shares failed to breach this price level (which was also its IPO price) ever since it was traded in public. With prices about 15% lower than its IPO price, investors are beginning to ask whether the Company worth so much after all.

Well, if we look at some of the analysts thoughts for the social networking giant, it becomes fairly apparent that Facebook has plenty to offer.

Ralph Schackart of William Blair gave the stock an “Outperform” rating. He believes that Facebook is “becoming a daily utility,” thus it is not easy for people to switch to a different platform.

Similarly, Mark S. Mahaney of Citi Investment Research called Facebook an Internet utility, comparing it with the tech giants such as Inc. and Google Inc.

He pointed out that Facebook, will very soon have 1 billion monthly users and 600 million daily average users.

By that count, Mahaney believes that Facebook will “become largest internet platform one day in terms of revenue and profits, given the size and engagement of its user base and its high-margin business model.”

Nevertheless, Mahaney gave stock as neutral rating, citing that company’s dual class stocks structure was one of the biggest investments risks.

Investment banks, Credit Suisse gave the stock a “neutral” rating even as Goldman Sachs, one of the underwriters and small shareholder of Facebook gave the company “buy” rating.

Meanwhile, Daniel Salmon at BMO Capital Markets gave Facebook a rare “underperform” rating.


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