Facebook shares rallied an impressive 30% Thursday, allowing the stock to book its best one-day gain ever. And while shares remain about 10% below the May 2012 IPO price of $38, analysts are predicting that Facebook is finally on its way to reaching, and even crossing, that threshold.
"Facebook delivered its strongest quarter yet as a public company -- results that we think could be thesis-changing for many," said Doug Anmuth, a JPMorgan analyst who boosted his price target to $44 a share from $35.
Investors and analysts are most impressed by Facebook's growing strength in mobile advertising -- a part of the business they were initially most concerned about since Facebook lacked a clear strategy for mobile advertising despite the rapidly growing number of people using Facebook on their mobile phones and tablets.
"One year into Facebook's mobile advertising efforts, mobile has increased from zero to 41% of total ad revenue," Anmuth highlighted in a note to clients.
While the improvements have been gradual, Facebook blew everyone away this past quarter by generating 50% more in mobile ad revenue than what Wall Street was expecting.
Even after that stellar quarter, analysts say growth should remain strong as Facebook continues to shift toward more social ads that will become increasingly valuable to advertisers.
Analysts at JMP Securities, who increased their share price target to $38, said that social media giant's second-quarter results suggest that "Facebook is increasingly becoming a 'must buy' for advertisers."
Goldman Sachs analysts were also excited by Facebook's significant improvement in mobile advertising. They put a bullish price target of $46 on Facebook shares.
"We continue to believe Facebook is at the center of the mobile ad revolution and see considerable opportunity for it to drive higher pricing on its ad units as brand and direct marketers alike take advantage of its broad reach and precise targeting," said Goldman analyst Heather Bellini.
As Facebook (FB) shares surged, a number of investors were getting in on the action. Over 360 million shares of Facebook had exchanged hands Thursday, more than seven times the stock's average daily trading volume.
The day's surge pushed the value of Facebook to more than $80 billion, up from just over $60 billion as of Wednesday's closing bell.
Facebook's advance was also getting plenty of attention on Twitter.
Don't want to jinx it, but I'm about to break even on my IPO day $FB investment! I'm still LONG—
Ross Sheingold (@RossSheingold) July 25, 2013
$FB hasn't even started off-site ads yet. $FB creates the most relevant ads. Advertiser's will pay a premium. $FB continued rev growth.—
Fibo Waves (@Fibowaves618) July 25, 2013
Mobile advertising makes up 41% of all revenue at Facebook now. Remember the pundits who swore $FB wouldn't be able to monetize mobile?—
Joe McCann (@joemccann) July 25, 2013
Despite the solid results and big run-up, however, some in the Twitterverse remained skeptical of Facebook's future.
$FB what a hole that will one day implode. Stupid money, but congrats to those riding the wave.—
(@TraderJive) July 25, 2013
Monster rally in $FB Facebook. I'm not involved but still a doubter, don't like long term revenue prospects—
Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) July 25, 2013
$FB up 24%. Still not sure if I will ever be in the green with that buy.—
Matthew Kammerer (@mkammerer) July 25, 2013
Still, plenty seemed to regret not having bought Facebook shares sooner.
Almost choked when I saw $FB soar this morning. I wanted in so bad at $19. Missed it.—
(@MarkinCHS) July 25, 2013
Wish I bought $FB right about now—
Kyle Russell (@KRussell142) July 25, 2013
Other social media stocks were also higher on the back of Facbeook's strong quarter. Chinese Internet social media platform YY (YY) jumped more than 11%, while Zynga (ZNGA) shares jumped 6%. LinkedIn (LNKD) and Yelp (YELP) shares rose more than 3%.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, Abbott Laboratories and AbbVie, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
Sell in May and go away isn't working as an investment strategy so far this year ... unless you sold Facebook.
Shares of Facebook (FB) have plunged 12% in May. They hit their low point of MOREPaul R. La Monica - May 28, 2013 12:33 PM ET
Facebook beat fourth-quarter earnings and revenue estimates, and improved mobile ad sales, but investors weren't all that impressed.
Facebook (FB) stock tanked 10% within minutes in after-hours trading following the earnings release. But the stock nearly fully recovered before edging lower again as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, CFO David Ebersman and COO Sheryl Sandberg answered questions from analysts on a conference call. Shares were down 4% at the conclusion of the call, MOREHibah Yousuf - Jan 30, 2013 6:50 PM ET
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new search tool at a highly-anticipated press event Tuesday.
The new feature, dubbed "Graph Search," allows Facebook users to search their own network of connections for people, places, photos and interests that have been shared on Facebook. For example, users will be able to search for "friends who live in my city," "photos of the Eiffel Tower," or "music my friends like."
Facebook first announced the event last week, MOREHibah Yousuf - Jan 15, 2013 4:10 PM ET
Facebook (FB) stock rallied nearly 4% Wednesday, crossing $30 a share for the first time in six months.
The social network sent media invitations late Tuesday for an event at its Menlo Park, Calif. headquarters on January 15. The invitation called for reporters to "Come and see what we're building," fueling speculation that the company will make a major product announcement.
Hitting $30.28 Wednesday, the highest level since mid-July, shares of Facebook are MOREHibah Yousuf - Jan 9, 2013 12:48 PM ET
Facebook's stock surged more than 19% Wednesday, marking its best one-day gain since the company went public by far, as investors welcomed a healthy boost in sales.
The social media giant delivered third-quarter sales of almost $1.3 billion when it reported earnings after the closing bell Tuesday. That's up 24% from a year earlier.
In particular, investors were impressed by Facebook's ability to earn about $150 million from mobile, accounting for 14% MOREHibah Yousuf - Oct 24, 2012 4:01 PM ET
Since its botched initial public offering in May, investors have heatedly discussed the following question about Facebook (FB): How low can it go?
After surging last week to a recent high of above $23 a share from its all-time low of $17.55, it looked like the Facebook fans finally had reason to celebrate. But Facebook's stock plummeted more than 9% Monday after an article appeared in Barron's over the weekend which MOREMaureen Farrell - Sep 24, 2012 1:03 PM ET
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul R. La Monica. Other than Time Warner, the parent of CNNMoney, and Abbott Laboratories, La Monica does not own positions in any individual stocks.
Facebook (FB) is on a tear lately. Shares are up about 17% since CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference last week and merely stated the obvious: that the performance of the stock after MOREPaul R. La Monica - Sep 20, 2012 1:05 PM ET
Facebook's stock rallied almost 8% and closed at a 1-month high Wednesday, a day after CEO Mark Zuckerberg took an upbeat tone during his first public appearance since the company's botched stock market debut in May.
"I am really optimistic about our mobile monetization strategy," Zuckerberg said during an interview with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington at the tech blog's Disrupt conference in San Francisco Tuesday.
The CEO cited the social media platform's high volume MOREHibah Yousuf - Sep 12, 2012 4:04 PM ET
Shares of Facebook (FB) rebounded from an all-time low Wednesday, after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he'd be holding onto his shares for at least a year.
Ever since Facebook went public in May, the stock has struggled to gain traction as investors worry about the social network's mobile strategy and how much pressure will come from the expiration of multiple lock-up periods (when insiders can sell their shares).
But after the market MOREMaureen Farrell - Sep 5, 2012 10:52 AM ET
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