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Facebook Is Leveraging Investments, Says a Bullish Piper Jaffray

Facebook (FBGet Report) was given a bullish initiation by Piper Jaffray analysts who see the social media company leveraging investments well while also dodging negative headlines that have followed the company.

Facebook shares were down 1.1% in premarket trading to $197.50.

The firm initiated coverage with an overweight rating and $230 price target Tuesday after observing that fFacebook’s latest quarterly results suggest that neither users or advertisers are being negatively affected by the company’s public missteps. 

This is thanks to the continued trend of advertising spend shifting online, according to Piper Jaffray’s note, with approximately half of global advertising dollars being spent online and the expectation that that percentage will grow to 60% within the next four years. 

“We do not expect the flow of news related to government inquiry and investigation into the company’s business practices, data privacy, election tampering, etc., will subside any time soon,” wrote Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson. “While this does pose a risk to FB shares, we believe most investors have become comfortable with the fact that this is an ongoing issue with risk of periodic multi-billion dollar fines.”

But the company has elevated its opex and capex spend, which is a positive for free cash flow generation, according to Olson.The firm also noted that nearly half of the company’s revenue comes from the U.S. and Canada, though the company’s foreign revenue generation represents an increasing percentage of its top-line. 

The  capex and opex spending, however, also has a potential downside. 

“Facebook invests in various new categories and initiatives, such as Watch and Marketplace. An inability to monetize these initiatives, while not significantly material to company performance currently, would result in an unfavorable return on investment for this spend,” Olson wrote. 

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