Tags: Facebook | Zuckerberg | company | stock

Why I've Changed My Mind About Facebook

By    |   Monday, 30 Mar 2015 08:36 AM

When I wrote my first articles on Facebook, the stock had just had its initial public offering. I called it a "sucker's stock" because of the likelihood that the stock was overhyped and that it would likely plummet soon.

Well, I was right. It plummeted from a high of around $45 on its opening day, down into the teens before halting its decline. So that's where I got it right.

Where I got it wrong later on was that I saw CEO Mark Zuckerberg's present thinking and I didn't give him enough credit for how he'd mature (with other's help) into an actual businessman.

Before, he had kid-like thinking. He wasn't worried about making profits and growing a business. He just wanted to build something that would allow a ton of people to connect together.

He was even real casual about his stock going public. It seemed he couldn't care less, as long as people kept throwing money at him so he could keep trying to grab more eyeballs. But he had no interest at the time in trying to turn a sustainable profit and grow a business.

He obviously got some coaching/mentoring.

Today, Facebook will likely be one of the few social media stocks that actually ends up making it the long haul. They've got everyone's memories on there though pictures and videos.

But as a business, they've learned how to attract and keep advertisers. They've learned how to make money through games on Facebook. And shortly, they'll be making it to where people can transfer money through Facebook's chat feature.

Additionally, they're attracting the traditional media now as they try to get them to post their news directly on their site. That's likely to happen since traditional media is starting to have an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" type of attitude more and more.

But there are other reasons why I like Facebook. I like it as a business now. The profit margins are wide. Their operating margin is 39.97 percent and their profit margin is 23.58 percent.

They're a real company, making real money these days, as shown by their earnings last year of $6.22 billion.

They've also got a great cash position, with $11.20 billion in cash and only $233 million in debt (which is not much for a $238 billion company).

So with all of that said, it means I believe that Facebook is a solid company and one of the few that will likely survive (much like eBay and Amazon did in the Internet boom).

However, even though I think it's a great company now, I still believe its stock price is too high.

Facebook trades in the mid $80s as of this writing and needs to pull back so it can have a lower price-earnings ratio (P/E). Now, a high-growth company is not going to have a low P/E, but it can certainly drop from where it's at presently.

Right now, the trailing P/E is 76.95 and its forward P/E is 33.24.

So, if Facebook's stock takes a good slam, then it could be worth owning. But right now, the price is too rich and it needs to come down. At a minimum, the stock would need to come down into the $70 to $75 area. But if it drops lower than that, all the better. Ideally, I'd like to see it trade in the $50s before investing.

So just know my tune has changed on Facebook ever since Zuckerberg forsook the kid-like thinking of having a toy of a company and began to think about Facebook as a business to grow. Now it just needs to come down to a reasonable valuation relative to its earnings and it will be worth buying.

God bless!

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SeanHyman
When I wrote my first articles on Facebook, the stock had just had its initial public offering. I called it a "sucker's stock" because of the likelihood that the stock was overhyped and that it would likely plummet soon.
Facebook, Zuckerberg, company, stock
626
2015-36-30
Monday, 30 Mar 2015 08:36 AM
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