‘Facebook’s stock is bottoming’ thanks to Instagram, buyback

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Shares of Facebook could be nearing a trough as Instagram continues to attract advertisers and the company adds to its share buyback program, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Wednesday.

“I think Facebook, the stock, is ready to bottom. Maybe it already has. Maybe it can go higher” as more and more retailers pour money into advertising on digital media platforms, he said.

Boosting online advertising is “mentioned over and over and over again on practically every retail conference call I’ve been on,” Cramer, host of “Mad Money,” noted as Facebook’s stock gained 2.5 percent intraday before settling up 1.7 percent.

And while Facebook’s namesake platform is losing steam as consumer tastes evolve, Instagram — which Facebook bought in 2012 — is still drawing advertising dollars, he said.

“I’m not saying it’s the only game in town,” Cramer said. “But if you want to hit influencers, if you want to get the word out, you’ve got to do it with Facebook.”

To better explain why Facebook could bottom amid scandals surrounding privacy concerns and data use, Cramer took a more comprehensive look at the industry.

These days, it’s difficult for retailers to drive traffic to their websites on their own, so they need to advertise online. But, interestingly, their choices are few and far between: Twitter was not “all that successful” with ads last quarter, Snap is falling behind its competitors, Google is “clogged with ads” and Amazon, while effective, is a retail rival, he said.

“There are only so many places to get the word out on the web, and Facebook owns two of them,” the “Mad Money” host said. And even though Instagram is a lower-margin business, it continues to rack up huge amounts of daily active users.

So even though bad publicity, questionable management tactics and competition from Amazon are still weighing on Facebook’s stock, the social media giant’s advertising power is not to be discounted, Cramer argued.

“Look, I know Facebook’s been a hideous investment ever since its stock peaked at $218 near the end of July,” Cramer said. “But, man, if a chain of stores wants to bolster its digital presence, a major chunk of that spending will go to Facebook, along with Amazon and Alphabet.”

“That’s why I think Facebook’s stock is bottoming here. The company’s got a mighty buyback that’s been all but ignored all the way down,” the “Mad Money” host continued. “I think they can start turning things around, and I’ve got to tell you, I think you can buy this stock next time the market takes a header.”

2018-12-12 23:57:00

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