Facebook Stock Hit With Another Bearish Brokerage Note

Facebook stock has struggled since a late-July bear gap

by Emma Duncan

Published on Sep 18, 2018 at 10:13 AM

Shares of Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) are lower in early trading after the stock got hit with its second bearish analyst note this month. J.P. Morgan Securities slashed its price target to $195 from $205, saying the social media giant's spending in 2019 will be higher as it invests in stronger privacy measures, and that FB is the "most controversial company" it's currently covering.

On the charts, the shares of Facebook stock have struggled to regain strength after a late-July post-earnings bear gap sent them retreating from their July 25 record high of $218.62. In fact, the FAANG stock is down more than 26% to trade near five-month lows. Nevertheless, the $160 region -- which coincides with the equity's negative 10% year-to-date return -- has recently emerged as a floor, with the shares last seen down 0.2% at $160.32.

Against this backdrop, the FAANG stock could be at risk of more bearish brokerage notes, considering 84% of analysts still maintain a "buy" rating on the equity. Plus, its average 12-month price target of $210.06 comes at a more than 30% premium to last night's close.  Earlier this month, MoffettNathanson issued a rare downgrade, sending FB stock down 2.6% that day.

Echoing the overall analyst outlook, near-term option traders are more call-skewed than usual. This is per FB's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.70, which ranks in the 21st percentile of its annual range. The September 185 call is home to peak open interest of 63,254 contracts, and data from the major options exchanges confirms notable buy-to-open activity here.


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