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FB vs. ETF Alternatives
Monday, Oct 282013, 12:15 PM
Monday, Oct 282013, 12:15 PM| 5 Comments
- Though the Nasdaq is only down 0.1%, many 2013 Internet, solar, and enterprise software high-flyers are diving once more. Chinese names are well-represented in the group, as NQ Mobile continues crashing thanks to fraud allegations and Sohu plunges due to weak Q4 EPS guidance.
- The WSJ and NYT have each run pieces asking whether a new tech bubble is afoot, at least in certain hot sectors. "People are reaching for growth," says one fund manager quoted by the WSJ. Others argue the fact the high-flyers generally have substantial revenue, and are often profitable, makes the current situation different from the Dot.com bubble.
- Internet decliners: FB -3.4%. MELI -2.8%. GRPN -5%. ZNGA -2.7%. P -2.4%. DANG -7.6%. VIPS -7%. YY -4.8%. QIHU -5.6%. RENN -5.7%. SINA -2.4%. FUEL -4%.
- Solar decliners: JKS -12.4%. FSLR -4.8%. SOL -8.4%. YGE -8%. JASO -6.9%. GTAT -5.4%. SUNE -4.6%. SPWR -4.3%. SCTY -3.8%. STP -8.9%. TSL -13.2%.
- Enterprise decliners: CRM -3.8%. DATA -4.5%. MKTO -5.8%. WDAY -4%. DWRE -3.4%. VEEV -5.1%. IMPV -3.4%.
- Recent declines: I, II.
- Previous: Cashin sees mobile/cloud bubble
Friday, Oct 252013, 5:41 PM
Friday, Oct 252013, 5:41 PM| 4 Comments
- The WSJ's Everlyn Rusli reports Mark Zuckerberg (FB) approached Snapchat about acquiring the startup for $1B+, but was turned down.
- Much like the Instagram deal, buying Snapchat would give Facebook control of a mobile picture-sharing platform that's seeing massive growth (350M+ Snapchat photos are now shared daily), and which is evolving into a social networking platform that could affect Facebook's engagement levels. Snapchat would also strengthen Facebook's efforts to keep teen users engaged amid concerns its popularity with the demographic is slipping.
- Piper's latest survey of U.S. teen social media use found only 23% named Facebook their most important social media site, down from 33% in spring and 42% a year ago. On the other hand, Instagram rose to 23% from 17% and 12%. Twitter (TWTR) came in at 26% vs. prior levels of 30% and 27%.
- Update: AllThingsD reports Snapchat is close to raising funding at a valuation that could reach $3.6B.
Wednesday, Oct 232013, 9:58 AM
Wednesday, Oct 232013, 9:58 AM| 1 Comment
- ITG Research's checks point to slower-than-expected North American Facebook (FB -1.8%) transaction volumes in September. As a result, the firm has lowered its regional estimates below consensus.
- ITG did something similar with Groupon yesterday. 47% of Facebook's Q2 sales came from North America.
- With shares having nearly doubled from where they traded going into the Q2 report, expectations have definitely risen heading into the Oct. 30 Q3 report. Last week, Goldman predicted another strong quarter thanks to still-surging mobile ad sales.
- Needham has raised its PT all the way to $65 from $37 this morning, while talking up Facebook's scale, average user engagement (17 minutes/day), ROIC, and various growth opportunities.
Tuesday, Oct 222013, 3:54 PM
Tuesday, Oct 222013, 3:54 PM| 9 Comments
- After opening higher in sympathy with Netflix, high-flying U.S. and Chinese Internet stocks are closing lower in sympathy with the streaming giant, which is down 8.2% after trading up over 10% AH yesterday in response to its Q3 numbers.
- In addition to Groupon, which has been stung by an ITG Research note, U.S. decliners include Facebook (FB -1.9%), LinkedIn (LNKD -1.7%), Yelp (YELP -2.3%), Zillow (Z -2.5%), and Trulia (TRLA -1%).
- Chinese decliners include Baidu (BIDU -1.6%), Sina (SINA -2.9%), Qihoo (QIHU -3%), Ctrip (CTRP -2.1%), and NQ Mobile (NQ -3.5%).
- Chinese e-commerce plays Vipshop (VIPS -3.7%) and LightInTheBox (LITB -4.9%) are also lower. In addition to the general selloff, they appear to be getting hurt by Dangdang's Q3 warning.
Monday, Oct 212013, 2:54 PM
Monday, Oct 212013, 2:54 PM| 2 Comments
- While the launch of Facebook's (FB -0.7%) anticipated (and potentially very lucrative) news feed video ad product remains pending, the company is rolling out a video option for its fairly successful mobile app install ads. Developers can embed videos into their ads, which appear within news feeds displayed on Facebook's Android/iOS apps.
- Facebook is also giving developers the option to pay for ads on a per-install basis, rather than per ad click or 1K ad impressions. The new options come three weeks after Facebook rolled out a reminder ad option for users who have already installed an app, and disclosed its app install ads have driven 145M downloads.
Saturday, Oct 192013, 3:40 PM
Saturday, Oct 192013, 3:40 PM| 142 Comments
- "I do worry a little bit that we're beginning to hear things that are reminiscent of the 1999-2000 period—the number of hits, the number of eyeballs," says UBS' Art Cashin, suggesting a new tech bubble is afoot.
- Cashin doesn't claim all tech names are taking part - many large-caps still go for less than 15x trailing EPS and 3x sales - just some of those with strong cloud and/or mobile exposure. "We're beginning to see a case of old tech/new tech."
- Though using P/Es to value growth-stage tech firms can be tricky, given how near-term earnings are often depressed by big investments, a look at price/sales multiples makes it clear valuations for many high-growth names have soared.
- Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD), Zillow (Z) and YELP now respectively trade at 13.4x, 13.1x, 10.9x, and 14.8x 2014E sales. The story is similar for some enterprise-focused names: Workday (WDAY) and Splunk (SPLK) go for 20.7x and 17.3x FY15E (ends Jan. '15) sales, and ServiceNow (NOW), Tableau (DATA), and FireEye (FEYE) go for 11.9x, 14.4x, and 21.4x 2014E sales.
- Price/billings ratios for enterprise firms that depend heavily on cloud subscriptions are a bit lower than price/sales ratios, but are still often in the double-digit range.
- Tech ETFs: QQQ, XLK, QTEC, IGM, IYW, PTF, MTK, XLK, VGT, RYT, FXL, PSCT, TECL, ROM, TECS, REW, TDIV.
Friday, Oct 182013, 4:46 PM
Friday, Oct 182013, 4:46 PM| 12 Comments
- Facebook's (FB +3.8%) FBX exchange (shows targeted ads on Facebook sites based on non-Facebook activity) will now allow advertisers using DoubleClick's (GOOG +13.9%) Bid Manager ad-buying platform to purchase ad inventory.
- As AllThingsD's Peter Kafka observes, the deal is a big one, given FBX's growth and DoubleClick's huge display ad market presence; Bid Manager already supports dozens of online ad exchanges.
- Whereas Facebook had granted FBX access to ad tech platforms from AOL, Adobe, and many others, Bid Manager was a notable exception, reportedly due to concerns Google would gain access to valuable pricing/inventory data it could use to better compete against FBX.
- Kafka: "Either Google has made concessions to Facebook to get access to Facebook’s inventory, or Facebook has decided that working with its biggest competitor is better than shutting it out. Or both."
- FBX and DoubleClick's Ad Exchange compete in a fast-growing market for real-time (programmatic) ad bidding. AOL, Yahoo, and newly-public Rocket Fuel (FUEL) also take part.
- Earlier: Google tops $1,000 post-earnings, peers up in sympathy
Friday, Oct 182013, 10:29 AM
Friday, Oct 182013, 10:29 AM| 17 Comments
- "We believe that Google's (GOOG +12.8%) ability to monetize experiences through engagement-based services will allow it to disrupt many hardware and software layers over time," writes Evercore's Ken Sena, exemplifying the glowing analyst commentary that has followed Google's Q3 beat.
- Sena, who is raising his PT to $1,100, sees Google's services investments pressuring near-term margins, but also creating "a stronger platform ecosystem in which more collected data, better predictive analytics, and an increased amount of screen connectivity will lead to better overall search economics in addition to new opportunities."
- Needham and Jefferies have raised their PTs to $1,150, and Deutsche has raised its target to $1,220. YouTube's mobile growth, strong paid click volumes, and the potential for Enhanced Campaigns to lift search ad sales (after doing less damage than expected in Q3) are all mentioned as reasons to stay bullish.
- U.S. Internet peers continue to rally in sympathy: FB +4.1%. LNKD +3.7%. YELP +7.8%. AMZN +3.3%. Z +3.9%. TRLA +4.8%. ZNGA +2.8%.
- Foreign Internet names are also moving higher: BIDU +5%. YOKU +6.9%. SINA +3.7%. RENN +4.4%. QIHU +4.9%. DANG +5.9%. YNDX +4%. SIFY +3.4%.
- Google's Q3 results, details, CC remarks, transcript
Thursday, Oct 172013, 6:00 PM
Thursday, Oct 172013, 6:00 PM| Comment!
- Nasdaq-100 (QQQ) futures +1.1% AH after Google beats Q3 estimates on the back of strong paid click growth. The gains follow a trading session in which the Nasdaq again made new 52-week highs.
- Several Internet stocks have followed Google higher in AH trading. FB +1.9%. AMZN +1.3%. LNKD +1.2%. YELP +2.6%. Z +1.4%.
- Tech ETFs: QTEC, IGM, IYW, PTF, MTK, XLK, VGT, RYT, FXL, PSCT, TECL, ROM, TECS, REW, TDIV.
Thursday, Oct 172013, 2:26 PM
Thursday, Oct 172013, 2:26 PM| 23 Comments
- Goldman's Heather Bellini, a long-time Facebook (FB +1.1%) bull, thinks there could be upside to a Q3 mobile ad sales consensus of $791M, which represents 20% Q/Q growth relative to Q2's blowout figure of $656M (+75% Q/Q from Q1). Oddly enough, her own forecast is still at $729M.
- Bellini says Goldman's online ad contacts "again reported FB's ad products deliver the best performance outside of search," and the performance of the FBX exchange (display ads based on non-Facebook activity) especially stood out. A majority of contacts also reported major growth in mobile ad spend.
- Bellini's PC ad forecast is below consensus ($890M vs. $914M), but her Payments forecast is above ($220M vs. $209M). Ad prices are expected to grow 8% Y/Y, and impressions 38%.
- Facebook is making new post-IPO highs again. Bellini raised her PT to $58 from $52 in late September, following positive talks at the AdWeek 2013 conference.
- Q3 results are due on Oct. 30.
Wednesday, Oct 162013, 7:29 PM
Wednesday, Oct 162013, 7:29 PM| 8 Comments
- Facebook (FB) users aged 13 to 17 are now able (like their older peers) to create public posts the can be viewed by an user; until now, teens could only make content visible to friends and friends of friends.
- The social networking giant is now also giving teens the option to let others "follow" them instead of befriending them (so as to make it easier to limit how much content the former group sees).
- The moves come amid concerns younger U.S. Facebook users are spending less time on the service in favor of Twitter, whose relative anonymity, multiple account support, and public conversations have made it popular with many teens.
- Snapchat's rise (and recent addition of social networking features) has also been viewed as a potential threat. As with Twitter, the fear isn't that Facebook will be abandoned altogether, but that engagement levels among younger users will drop from today's sky-high levels as users turn to services deemed less "boring."
- Mark Zuckerberg has insisted there isn't any teen Facebook exodus afoot.
Tuesday, Oct 152013, 11:09 AM
Tuesday, Oct 152013, 11:09 AM| 2 Comments
- Evercore's Ken Sena has raised his Facebook (FB +2.5%) PT to $60 from $45, and thinks Instagram (about to launch its first ads) could generate $340M in 2014 revenue (~3% of Facebook's total sales).
- Sena also sees Facebook's efforts to deliver targeted ads using data about non-Facebook activity yielding "additional pricing strength" and creating offline commerce opportunities, and calls pricing checks "exceptionally strong."
- He observes Facebook's 2012 U.S. ARPU was only $13 - its 2013 figure will doubtlessly be higher - less than Yahoo's $18 and the New York Times' $20, and far below Gannett's $48 and Google's $80.
- Separately, Facebook has updated its Custom Audiences platform, which thus far focused on enabling targeted ads based on offline activity, to allow marketers to deliver news feed ads based on Web site/app activity.
- Facebook asserts the new ads are complementary to those enabled by its FBX Exchange (also deliver retargeted ads). It's pitching the former to "businesses that don’t typically work with third parties," and the latter to larger firms.
- Previous: Instagram chief discusses product plans
Monday, Oct 142013, 7:42 AM
Monday, Oct 142013, 7:42 AM| 1 Comment
- Among the Israeli mobile-app maker's products are "Count," which monitors the data used on a smartphone, as well as "Extend," which shrinks the amount of information downloaded in order to maximize one's data plan.
- "Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data, and also helps developers, large and small, design better experiences for people,” say Onavo founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger in a company blog post announcing the sale.
- The purchase is in line with the goals of Facebook's (FB) Internet.org effort to deliver the Internet (and Facebook) to billions who currently don't have it.
- The purchase price is reported to be in the $150M-$200M range.
Saturday, Oct 122013, 3:56 PM
Saturday, Oct 122013, 3:56 PM| 2 Comments
- "We have 55 million photos a day posted to Instagram (FB), so exploration and discovery is the main concentration for us," says Instagram co-founder/CEO Kevin Systrom. With 150M+ active users (up 5x since the Facebook deal was announced and closing in on Twitter's reported ~240M), Instagram has evolved into a major social network in its own right.
- Interestingly, though Instagram's parent company prides itself on an algorithm-heavy approach to determining what content a user should see, Systrom suggests Instagram will lean more on human judgment and community "signals," albeit while granting "there's no one person that can figure out what you should be looking at."
- Fine-tuning Instagram for foreign audiences is also a priority, as is getting the platform integrated with more 3rd-party apps/services through its Open Platform API.
- Systrom's remarks come shortly after Instagram announced it will begin showing brand ads to U.S. users in the coming months. The company just introduced an app update that prevents users from disabling video autoplay on Wi-Fi, a move that may have been made with video ads in mind.
- Adrian Salamunovic, co-founder of an online printing startup, argues Instagram could make hundreds of millions annually by adding a print button to its apps that provides access to printing services.
Tuesday, Oct 82013, 11:48 AM
Tuesday, Oct 82013, 11:48 AM| 32 Comments
- With the government shutdown having reached day 8, many U.S. and Chinese Internet stocks that have seen giant 2013 gains (often with the help of momentum traders and/or short squeezes) are falling sharply.
- U.S. decliners include Facebook (FB -5.2%), Yahoo (YHOO -5.2%), Netflix (NFLX -4.7%), LinkedIn (LNKD -7%), Zillow (Z -5.3%), Trulia (TRLA -7.5%), Yelp (YELP -9.3%), Groupon (GRPN -4.9%), and Web.com (WWWW -10.2%).
- Chinese decliners include Baidu (BIDU -6.2%), Sina (SINA -7.5%), YY (YY -7.3%), Sohu (SOHU -5.1%), Renren (RENN -9.2%), Youku (YOKU -9.6%), Vipshop (VIPS -6.9%), and Dangdang (DANG -10.7%).
- A chart of the YTD performance of some key names speaks for itself.
Monday, Oct 72013, 7:49 AM
Monday, Oct 72013, 7:49 AM| 14 Comments
- RayJay's Aaron Kessler - who banged the drum for Facebook (FB) with an upgrade to Buy in January and an upgrade to Strong Buy in April (at prices well south of today's) - cuts his rating back to Buy following the big run in the stock price.
- Kessler says his bullish thesis on the company is playing out as expected, but today's high valuation merits the downgrade.
- Shares off 1.2% premarket.
- View all 5 replies
Andrei Volgin:: You can't run for Senate as a business executive. She can probably come back if her bid fails, but I think she wants to win.
samuel_liu:: HPQ's failed CEO Carly Fiorina ran for CA B Boxers senate seat EBAY's failed CEO Meg W ran for CA governor. TIME TO REPLACE BOXER!!
- View all 1 replies
jim139220:: I sold 1/3 of my FB stock