Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

Weekly Contrarian: Facebook's Recent Rebound Could Convince the Street

FB's third-quarter announcement prompted a re-evaluation of analyst ratings

by 10/25/2012 10:57 AM
Stocks quoted in this article:

After months of wallowing in the post-IPO blues, the author of's How Facebook Got Its Groove Back, is breathing a collective sigh of relief with the rest of Wall Street, following Facebook Inc's (NASDAQ:FB) third-quarter earnings results. Specifically, the social media concern revealed a 32% rise in revenue, and disclosed that mobile ad revenue accounted for 14% of ad sales. This latter detail had been a cause of concern among many, who doubted the company's ability to bring in a sustainable revenue stream from mobile ad sales.

As the author notes, we are in the midst of a mass movement, in which "the locus of computing is shifting away from the desktop and toward smartphones and tablets." With this shift comes more emphasis on mobile ad revenue generated by Internet companies. FB, the author argues, is in a profitable position relative to this growing industry, as the company currently harbors "the most popular app on the major mobile platforms."

The author concludes, "Facebook still has a ton of work to do -- especially if it intends to push its stock anywhere near the IPO price -- but Tuesday's results indicate the company is making progress with its strategy to generate revenue from mobile advertising, which is the next great tech battlefield in the war for Internet supremacy."


FB's post-IPO technical woes are well-known on the Street, with the stock trading at a roughly 40% discount to its May 18 offering. However, FB is refusing to give up without a fight. In fact, over the past 40 sessions, the equity has outperformed the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by nearly 22 percentage points, on a relative-strength basis.

Given FB's initial technical struggles in the months after going public, there's been a fair amount of skepticism surrounding the stock. In the options arena, the equity's 10-day International Securities Exchange (ISE)/Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE)/NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) put/call volume ratio is docked at 1.33, meaning traders have bought to open 133 puts for every 100 calls during the past two weeks. Additionally, FB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) currently stands at 1.48, indicating put open interest easily outweighs call open interest among options expiring within the next three months.

Elsewhere on the Street, short interest accounts for a healthy 5% of the stock's available float. Plus, no fewer than 13 out of 30 analysts maintain "hold" or "strong sell" suggestions toward FB. From a contrarian perspective, such lofty levels of bearish sentiment toward an equity that's recently been flexing its technical muscle might certainly have bullish implications. With FB's well-received quarterly announcement prompting a slew of upgrades and price-target hikes from the brokerage bunch, a further capitulation from this group of doubters could create a fresh wave of buying power.

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