With earnings season in full swing, a number of interesting earnings reports are on deck. Amidst a market rocked by uncertainty, next Wednesday (Feb 2), Meta Platforms (FB) will take center stage after the close and reveal Q4’s results.

Possibly the most controversial name in the FAAMNG gang, Meta is never far from way from setting off another media storm, and while Monness’ Brian White expects the company to keep its place at the top of the social media heap, the analyst does not expect 2022 to be plain sailing either, anticipating Meta will swap “one turbulent year for another.”

“We believe Meta will continue to benefit from the digital ad trend, participate in accelerated digital transformation, and innovate in the metaverse,” the 5-star analyst said. “However, we expect regulatory scrutiny to continue, the news flow to remain negative, and we wonder if Netflix is a canary in the coalmine.”

Shares of the streaming giant tanked following a disappointing print last week, so the mention makes for an ominous sign. That said, White expects Meta to “at least meet” his 4Q21 revenue estimate of $33.09 billion – amounting to an 18% year-over-year uptick – and EPS forecast of $3.73. Street has $33.38 billion and $3.84, respectively. White’s expectations represent a sequential increase of 14%, which is lower than the four-year average of 25% growth exhibited in previous December quarters.

As what to look out for on the earnings call, White believes there will be no lack of subjects to rifle through. The analyst expects updates on the “impact of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT), expectations around the longevity of advertiser headwinds (e.g., supply chain, labor shortages), engagement on Reels, commerce trends, and further enlightenment on the metaverse.”

Additionally, White would like to hear the company’s thoughts on the “deluge of negative new flows” which followed whistle blower Frances Haugen’s testimony before Congress regarding the company‘s failure to deal with the harmful impact it is having on users – teens in particular. Haugen’s testimony acted as a catalyst for several Big Tech hearings during the quarter, which also included an appearance by head of Instagram Adam Mosseri in a December Senate hearing.

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Despite the anticipated turbulence, White sticks to a Buy rating, supporting it with a $460 price target. Investors are looking at returns of 54%, should the target be met over the coming months. (To watch White’s track record, click here)

Turning now to the rest of the Street, where FB stock gets plenty of support; the ratings show 26 Buys vs. 5 Holds, all coalescing to a Strong Buy consensus view. Shares are anticipated to gain ~37% over the next year, given the average price target clocks in at $406 and change. (See FB stock forecast on TipRanks)

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analyst. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.

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