Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Facebook’s top-line benefits from mobile ad growth. The company’s expanding footprint in the developing countries is a positive. Further, the company’s initiatives related to Messenger, WhasApp and Watch are noteworthy. Shares have outperformed the industry in the past year. Nevertheless, aggressive investments on initiatives related to improving ad transparency and security are expected to hurt profitability in the near term. Further, the company is expected to lose some ad impression opportunities due to its focus on growth of Stories on the core Facebook app. This is expected to negatively impact top-line growth. Additionally, regulatory headwinds in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia and Germany is a concern. Meanwhile, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s Q4 earnings release. The company has mixed record of earnings surprises in recent quarters.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. Morgan Stanley boosted their price target on shares of Facebook from $185.00 to $175.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Friday, October 12th. ValuEngine raised shares of Facebook from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, November 2nd. BidaskClub raised shares of Facebook from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, December 27th. Aegis boosted their price target on shares of Facebook from $206.00 to $215.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co cut their price target on shares of Facebook from $220.00 to $200.00 and set an “outperform” rating on the stock in a report on Wednesday, October 31st. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating, thirty-eight have issued a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $186.92.

FB traded down $0.40 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $143.80. 12,780,294 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 22,166,707. The company has a market capitalization of $418.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 23.34, a P/E/G ratio of 0.92 and a beta of 0.58. Facebook has a 1 year low of $123.02 and a 1 year high of $218.62.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, October 30th. The social networking company reported $1.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.46 by $0.30. The firm had revenue of $13.73 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $13.82 billion. Facebook had a net margin of 37.57% and a return on equity of 27.89%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 32.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $1.59 EPS. As a group, sell-side analysts forecast that Facebook will post 7.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, VP Colin Stretch sold 750 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $154.28, for a total transaction of $115,710.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 91,644 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,138,836.32. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, insider Christopher K. Cox sold 5,300 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $153.44, for a total value of $813,232.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 120,737 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $18,525,885.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 431,850 shares of company stock worth $60,909,341. Company insiders own 16.25% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of FB. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Facebook by 4.0% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 8,774,424 shares of the social networking company’s stock worth $1,705,047,000 after buying an additional 337,909 shares in the last quarter. First American Bank purchased a new stake in Facebook in the third quarter worth approximately $6,317,000. Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc. boosted its stake in Facebook by 14.0% in the third quarter. Montrusco Bolton Investments Inc. now owns 106,851 shares of the social networking company’s stock worth $17,525,000 after buying an additional 13,124 shares in the last quarter. TIAA FSB boosted its stake in Facebook by 14.2% in the second quarter. TIAA FSB now owns 130,181 shares of the social networking company’s stock worth $25,297,000 after buying an additional 16,212 shares in the last quarter. Finally, HT Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Facebook in the second quarter worth approximately $297,000. 58.14% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

Facebook Company Profile

Facebook, Inc provides various products to connect and share through mobile devices, personal computers, and other surfaces worldwide. Its products include Facebook Website and mobile application that enables people to connect, share, discover, and communicate with each other on mobile devices and personal computers; Instagram, a community for sharing visual stories through photos, videos, and direct messages; Messenger, a messaging application to communicate with other people, groups, and businesses across various platforms and devices; and WhatsApp, a mobile messaging application.

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