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Meta Platforms Stock: Value Trap or Screaming Buy?

Meta stock has been hit hard and now trades at just 13 times earnings. Will the stock be worth a shot at some point?

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Meta stock has been hit hard and now trades at just 13 times earnings. Will the stock be worth a shot at some point?

Meta  (META) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Report Platforms (formerly Facebook) stock has been hit, down roughly 60% from its all-time high. It certainly hasn’t held up as some of its FAANG peers have.

In fact, there’s a very distinct difference between Apple  (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report and Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report  (GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Report vs. the rest of FAANG. Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com Inc. Report and Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Netflix Inc. Report also badly lagging Apple and Alphabet.

Clearly there are the “haves” and the “have-nots” in megacap tech. While Meta may fall into the have-nots column in its stock performance, its financials are another story.

For instance, Meta has the best gross and net margins within FAANG (although it lags Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report on net margins if we expand our scope to megacap tech).

Despite analysts expecting 7% revenue growth this year, earnings are forecast to fall almost 15%. The year 2023 is rosier, with forecasts calling for an acceleration in growth, up to 16% for revenue and 18% for earnings.

Of course, the state of the global economy will play a big role in how Meta’s fiscal 2023 will shape up. The situation is quickly becoming a “prove it” situation. That’s as Meta invests heavily in the metaverse, while saying that rising costs will eat into its margins this year.

It would help if Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was still there. Of course, Meta could hire from outside, as Alphabet did with Ruth Porat, who was previously with Morgan Stanley  (MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report and helped ignite momentum within the company. 

At just 13 times this year’s earnings, trailing free cash flow of $39 billion and almost $44 billion in cash and equivalents, Meta clearly shows value here — but is it a trap?

The Technical Perspective

Weekly chart of Meta stock.

Chart courtesy of TrendSpider.com

Through Q2 and Q3 of 2021, Meta stock roared higher, gaining more than 50% from the low to the high. It embarked on a somewhat standard correction in the fourth quarter as it entered 2022 near support at $300.

The $300 level held for a while, but it was shattered when Meta reported earnings in February.

The 200-week moving average was temporary support, but quickly turned to resistance in the following weeks. Since then, Meta stock has been consolidating in a falling wedge pattern and is now resolving to the downside.

From a technical perspective, Meta stock is broken. Painful as it may be to see, a test of the covid-19 lows may be in store down near $137. Provided that earnings estimates don’t move, the shares will trade at 11.5 times earnings.

At that price-to-earnings multiple — and given the risk/reward balance near a key level — it will be hard to ignore this opportunity should it arise. 

If the stock doesn’t quite fall that far, the bulls might consider getting long on a move back over $169. More conservative bulls can wait to see whether Meta stock can reclaim $175. Over those levels — and the 10-week moving average — could put $200-plus in play.

The bottom line: As it stands, Meta is a company that’s evolving and that evolution costs money. 

With earnings under pressure ahead of a potential recession and given the unknowns about the metaverse, investors aren’t necessarily wrong to divest the stock. 

But long-term investors may begin to find value soon, particularly if estimates for Meta’s 2023 results are even close to accurate. 

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Government

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican…

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New Hampshire Governor Vetoes Ivermectin Bill

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed a bill that would have made Ivermectin available without a prescription.

Ivermectin tablets packaged for human use. (Natasha Holt/The Epoch Times)

The Republican governor vetoed the bill on June 24, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Some fellow Republicans questioned the timing.

It certainly seemed like a convenient way to bury a veto of a bill that won support from the vast majority of Republicans in New Hampshire,” JR Hoell, co-founder of the conservative watchdog group RebuildNH, told The Epoch Times.

Hoell is a former four-term House Republican planning to seek re-election after a four-year hiatus from the the New Hampshire legislature.

Earlier this year, the New Hampshire Department of Children Youth and Family (DCYF) tried to take custody of Hoell’s 13-year old son after a nurse reported him for giving human-grade ivermectin to the teen months earlier.

Several states have introduced bills to make human-grade ivermectin available without a prescription at a brick and mortar store. Currently, it can be ordered online from another country. In April, Tennessee became the the first state to sign such a measure into law. New Hampshire lawmakers were first to introduce the idea.

Both chambers of the state’s Republican controlled legislature approved the bill.

In his statement explaining the veto, Sununu noted that there are only four other controlled medications available without a prescription in New Hampshire and that each were only made available after “rigorous reviews and vetting to ensure” before being dispensed.

“Patients should always consult their doctor before taking medications so that they are fully aware of treatment options and potential unintended consequences of taking a medication that may limit other treatment options in the future,” Sununu said in his statement.

Sununu’s statement is very similar to testimony given by Paula Minnehan, senior vice president of state government regulations for the New Hampshire Hospital Association, at hearings on the bill.

Minnehan too placed emphasis on the review that went into the four prescription medications the state made available under a standing order. They include naloxone, the generic name for Narcan, which is used to counter opioid overdoses, hormone replacement therapy drugs, and a prescription-version of the morning after pill.

It also includes a collection of smoking cessation therapy drugs like Chantix, which has been linked to suicide, depression, and other neuropsychiatric conditions. Last year, Pfizer, the leading maker of the FDA-approved drug, conducted a voluntarily recall of Chantix. Narcan has also been linked to deaths caused by severe withdrawals that have led to acute respiratory distress.

Rep. Melissa Blasek, a Republican co-sponsor of the New Hampshire ivermectin bill, told The Epoch Times, that one could veto any drug-related bill under the pretense of overdose concerns.

The reality is you can overdose on Tylenol,” she said. “Ivermectin has one of the safest track records of any drug.”

The use of human-grade ivermectin became controversial when some doctors began promoting it for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Government agencies including the FDA and CDC issued warnings against its use while groups like Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC) heavily promoted it.

Some doctors were  disciplined for prescribing human-grade ivermectin for COVID-19 including a Maine doctor whose medical license was suspended by the state.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 20:30

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Economics

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The One Housing Chart That Shows A ‘Buyer’s Market’ Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight…

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The One Housing Chart That Shows A 'Buyer's Market' Has Returned

The red hot pandemic-era housing market is cooling as historically tight available inventory shows signs of reversing. 

An affordability crisis has removed millions of new home buyers as the number of active US listings soared 18.7% in June from a year earlier, the most significant increase in Realtor.com's data going back to 2017, according to Bloomberg. The days of insane bidding wars, waiving home inspections, and putting in an offer 20% or more over the list price appear to be over. In other words, a buyer's market could be emerging. 

"While we anticipate that more inventory will eventually cool the feverish pace of competition, the typical buyer has yet to see meaningful relief from quick-selling homes and record-high asking prices," said Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com. 

Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Raleigh, North Carolina saw active listings more than double from a year ago. Nashville, Tennessee, active listings jumped 86%, and 72% in the Riverside, California. 

The Federal Reserve's most aggressive tightening campaign sent the 30-year fixed-loan mortgage rate from 3% to over 6% this year (back in March, we warned coming rate explosion would trigger a housing affordability crisis), removing millions of new home buyers who can't afford the cost of homeownership as the median existing-home sales price was around $407k in May. 

Even though inventory is historically tight, supply is expected to increase in markets across the country as demand for loan applications among prospective buyers slumps. Fewer buyers equal more inventory. 

The takeaway is that inventory is rising as homes stay on the market longer because demand evaporated thanks to the housing affordability crisis -- this could mean a housing top is nearing. 

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 18:50

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Economics

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

States Need To Avoid ‘Cures’ That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across…

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States Need To Avoid 'Cures' That Can Make Inflation Worse

Authored by Regina M. Egea and Danielle Zanzalari via RealClearPolicy.com,

Across the United States, state governments are awash in cash. In a sharp contrast, American taxpayers are enduring a rate of inflation unseen in four decades, with the costs of everything from food to gasoline at record highs.

In our home state of New Jersey, Trenton is looking at an unprecedented surplus of $8 billion through a combination of increased tax revenue, federal pandemic aid and borrowing.

A natural impulse among residents and policymakers is to offer residents “relief” in the form of rebate checks.

The reality is that relying exclusively on rebates or direct cash transfers to individuals will only lead to more inflation as this puts more money in consumers’ hands exacerbating the same problem as today - too many dollars chasing too few goods.

Rather, it is prudent that states focus on long-term investment and responsible budgeting to ensure economic growth now and in the future. This is especially important in high tax, big spending states due to the greater flexibility in work arrangements that have exposed the reality that wealth is mobile.

With more residents fleeing high tax states to low tax states, states will need to reevaluate their tax and regulatory climate to stay competitive. 

Regulation can raise the costs for consumers and slow job growth. A series of studies shows the regulation raises prices and worsens poverty.

Working with local governments to revisit restrictive laws that contribute to higher housing prices, such as building height restrictions and zoning rules, as well as removing unnecessary restrictions on business operations will lead to more economic growth.

Another way states can aid productivity and long-term economic growth with their temporary budget surplus, is to fund training programs for middle-skilled jobs.

Nearly every industry has experienced labor shortages and that reality is especially acute in trades like auto, refrigeration, HVAC, electrical, welding, and manufacturing.

States can invest in these skills through high school and vocational school programs. With college borrowing costs astronomically high, this encourages individuals to pursue careers that are lucrative and budget friendly, as well as fill the over 75,000 job openings that our state of New Jersey is projected to need in just a few years.

To further long-term economic growth many states should also concentrate on fixing their unfunded pension liabilities for public employees. This impacts red and blue states alike, with massive liabilities in California ($1.53 trillion), Illinois ($533.72 billion), Texas ($529.70 billion), New York ($508.70 billion) and Ohio ($429.53 billion). Here in New Jersey, our liability is nearly $40,000 for every resident of the state, which can dramatically deter future growth. Beyond using some of states’ budget surplus to shore up pension liabilities, states should move public employees to defined contribution plans, which are used by more than 100 million Americans. These are found to have better investment returns than state-wide pension plans and cost taxpayers less.

Our final recommendation is perhaps our most important: Save for a rainy day. If the U.S. economy enters into a recession, this will mean fewer jobs and less tax revenue for states. To prepare for the future when states again face a budget shortfall, which may be sooner than we think, states should follow best practices of reserving 10% of their budget in a rainy day fund, to sustain essential programs should a downturn occur in the future.

As state leaders consider their budgets, they should focus on long-term economic growth initiatives. Proposals like funding middle-skilled job trainings ensure workers are ready for the next decade, whereas eliminating unnecessary regulations and focusing on pro-growth tax reforms encourages residents to build businesses and create jobs. Lastly, taking care of state finances by properly funding state employees’ retirement plans and saving for a rainy day will ensure that no state is left behind in the next economic downturn.

Tyler Durden Thu, 06/30/2022 - 17:50

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