Meta wins back Wall Street with AI promises

1 month ago 66
  • Facebook-parent set to add nearly $75 billion to market value
  • Meta on track to replace Nvidia as best-performing S&P 500 stock
  • Results also lift shares in Snap, Pinterest

April 27 (Reuters) - Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) is a Wall Street darling again.

The company's shares continued their winning streak on Thursday, surging nearly 14% after Meta's focus on AI and cost-cutting cheered investors whose enthusiasm has already helped the social media behemoth nearly double in value this year.

Meta is set to add around $75 billion to its market valuation and overtake Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) as the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 index (.SPX) on a year-to-date basis, if gains hold.

The rally also lifted other tech companies from Snap Inc (SNAP.N) and Pinterest Inc (PINS.N) to Inc (AMZN.O) by as much as 3.1%.

"If you want to be treated and valued like a growth stock, you need growth! And this is precisely what Meta delivered returning to growth ... just as questions around a potential recession get louder," Bernstein analyst Mark Shmulik said in a note.

Shmulik was among the 27 analysts who raised their price targets on Meta, pushing the median view to $270, which represents an upside of nearly 13% to a stock that is already leading gains among Big Tech companies this year.

Meta is Wall Street's new favorite after cost cuts Meta is Wall Street's new favorite after cost cuts

Meta beat expectations for first-quarter profit and revenue, which rose for the first time in nearly a year, the latest sign that American tech giants were digging themselves out of a slump that has sparked tens of thousands of layoffs.

The results also underscored the rising importance of AI, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying the tech was helping to boost traffic to Facebook and Instagram and earn more in ad sales.

"We believe AI has played a crucial role in shifting Meta from showing a more limited set of friends, family, and followed content to an almost unlimited set of recommended content now available in Reels and Feed," J.P. Morgan analysts said.

Zuckerberg also said the company, which has carried out several expensive overhauls to bolster its core business, was no longer behind in building out its AI infrastructure.

"Year of efficiency paves the way to AI offense," Roth MKM's Rohit Kulkarni said.

Reporting by Aditya Soni in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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