Meta’s stock notches highest close in 28 months as top-line optimism builds

Meta’s stock notches highest close in 28 months as top-line optimism builds

Mizuho analyst cheers strong advertising checks and revenue potential for Messenger

Meta Platforms Inc. shares clinched their highest close in more than two years Wednesday as an analyst called out the company’s ability to surprise with its top-line results.

The stock META, +1.30% rose 3.7% on Wednesday to $370.47, notching its highest finish since Sept. 16, 2021, when it ended at $373.06. Meta shares also recorded their largest single-day percentage gain since July 28, 2023, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Mizuho’s James Lee cheered three catalysts for Meta shares in a late Tuesday note to clients. He highlighted that the company could deliver revenue upside, lower its operating-expense outlook as the year goes on and realize underappreciated benefits from its Messenger platform.

The “setup is constructive” for the stock, according to Lee, as he sees the potential for broader upside this year.

“Our checks show that advertising recovered quickly from geopolitical uncertainties in early October,” he wrote. “Furthermore, there was surprising strength in holiday shopping, share gains of Chinese advertisers such as Shein and Temu, and the success of Shop Ads with its notable partnership with Amazon.”

While Meta’s operating-expense guidance implies roughly 15% growth on the metric for 2024, Lee thinks the company “has a lot of flexibility in managing operating expenses this year, and therefore could follow a similar path of prior years of lowering its opex guidance throughout the year.”

He’s also encouraged by the potential for Meta’s Messenger platform, though that may be a longer-term catalyst.

“With new ad products and AI to automate customer service, we believe that the messaging platform could achieve the company’s international ARPU [average revenue per user] of $20 and increase the company’s revenue base by 30%,” Lee wrote. “Although it is difficult to assess the timing of reaching that level of monetization, we believe that messaging has attractive optionality to owners of Meta shares.”

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