A Look at Meta Platforms Inc. (META) Shares in the Recent Past Indicates Growth

Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META) stock jumped 0.72% on Wednesday to $112.24 against a previous-day closing price of $111.44. With 21.26 million shares changed hands, the volume of the stock remained lighter than its average volume of 43.82 million shares. The 52-week range on META shows that it touched its highest point at $352.71 and its lowest point at $88.09 during that stretch. It currently has a 1-year price target of $154.93. Beta for the stock currently stands at 1.16.

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Price Performance and Earnings:

Stock performance is one of the indicators that investors use to determine whether they will profit from a stock. The price performance of META was down-trending over the past week, with a drop of -0.87%, but this was down by -18.38% over a month. Three-month performance dropped to -33.50% while six-month performance fell -38.94%. The stock lost -66.72% in the past year, while it has lost -66.63% so far this year. A look at the trailing 12-month EPS for META yields 10.49 with Next year EPS estimates of 7.82. For the next quarter, that number is 2.22. This implies an EPS growth rate of 36.40% for this year and -14.03% for next year.

Float and Shares Shorts:

At present, 2.68 billion META shares are outstanding with a float of 2.24 billion shares on hand for trading. On Oct 13, 2022, short shares totaled 25.87 million, which was 0.96% higher than short shares on Sep 14, 2022. In addition to Mr. Mark Elliot Zuckerberg as the firm’s Founder, Chairman & CEO, Mr. David M. Wehner serves as its Chief Financial Officer.

Institutional Ownership:

Through their ownership of 75.31% of META’s outstanding shares, institutional investors have majority control over the company. Other institutions hold 43.84% of META, in contrast to 30.12% held by mutual funds. Shares owned by individuals account for 1.92%. As the largest shareholder in META with 7.55% of the stake, The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds 172,092,284 shares worth 172,092,284. A second-largest stockholder of META, Fidelity Management & Research Co, holds 108,224,960 shares, controlling over 4.75% of the firm’s shares. BlackRock Fund Advisors is the third largest shareholder in META, holding 100,059,506 shares or 4.39% stake. With a 3.00% stake in META, the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index is the largest stakeholder. A total of 68,441,530 shares are owned by the mutual fund manager. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund, which owns about 2.29% of META stock, is the second-largest Mutual Fund holder. It holds 52,185,734 shares valued at 4.86 billion. Fidelity Contrafund holds 1.83% of the stake in META, owning 41,728,146 shares worth 3.89 billion.

Analysts Ratings:

Reading analyst opinions is an effective way to decide where to invest, and there are several opinions available for META since 57 analysts follow the stock currently. There are 29 analysts who recommend BUY ratings, while 2 suggest SELL ratings. Of the remaining analysts, 20 believe that the stock is worth HOLDING, 5 give it an OVERWEIGHT rating, and 1 thinks that it’s UNDERWEIGHT. In the same way, a target price assigned to a stock can also reveal much about its potential. With META analysts setting a high price target of $250.00 and a low target of $80.00, the average target price over the next 12 months is $146.10. Based on these targets, META could surge 122.74% to reach the target high and fall by -28.72% to reach the target low. Reaching the average price target will result in a growth of 30.17% from current levels.

EPS: Estimates vs Actual

It is also common to use earnings estimates to evaluate a firm’s growth potential and to determine trading strategy. META will report FY 2022 earnings on 02/01/2023. Analysts have provided yearly estimates in a range of $10.20 being high and $8.25 being low. For META, this leads to a yearly average estimate of $9.11. The earnings surprise of a firm occurs when the actual results change from the consensus earnings estimate. Meta Platforms Inc. surprised analysts by -$0.26 when it reported $1.64 EPS against a consensus estimate of $1.90. The surprise factor in the prior quarter was -$0.08. Based on analyst estimates, the high estimate for the next quarter is $2.78 and the low estimate is $1.41. The average estimate for the next quarter is thus $2.27.

Summary of Insider Activity:

Insiders traded META stock several times over the past three months with 0 Buys and 10 Sells. In these transactions, 0 shares were bought while 3,420 shares were sold. The number of buy transactions has increased to 153 while that of sell transactions has risen to 111 over the past year. The total number of shares bought during that period was 732,793 while 563,444 shares were sold.

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