Jason Helfstein Of Oppenheimer & Co. Maintains ‘Outperform’ Rating On Facebook

By David Cohen 

Facebook received some lukewarm news on Wall Street courtesy of analyst Jason Helfstein of Oppenheimer & Co., who reiterated an “outperform” rating on the social network’s stock and lowered his target price to $32 per share from $33.

Helfstein also reduced his first-quarter estimates for Facebook to $1.5 billion in revenue, $793 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, debt, and amortization), and earnings per share of $0.14, from $1.6 billion, $852 million, and $0.15, respectively, Barron’s Tech Trader Daily blog reported, and for the full year, he slashed his estimates to $7.1 billion, $3.7 billion, and $0.47, respectively, from $7.4 billion, $3.9 billion, and $0.53, respectively.

The analyst expressed concerns about the shift to mobile and away from desktop, writing, as reported by Tech Trader Daily:

Mobile devices now account for the majority of time spent on Facebook in the U.S. In February, mobile was 60 percent of time spent, up from 34 percent in March 2012. Facebook now accounts for 22 percent of the total time spent on the mobile Web versus 11 percent in March 2012. We are increasing our assumptions for 2013 and 2014 U.S. mobile time spent by 15 percent and 29 percent, respectively. However, we are lowering mobile monetization based on a higher percentage of performance-based ads in the first quarter, which command a lower CPM (cost per thousand impressions).

However, Helfstein’s outlook was not all bad, as he added:

We see street estimates at a positive inflection point. Consensus estimates have been declining since December 2012.