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Facebook Inc. (FB): Earnings Beat, But No Analyst Consensus

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) had a highly anticipated earnings report Wednesday evening, and when looking at the overall numbers, Facebook did not disappoint by beating Wall Street estimates both in revenue and earnings per share. However, like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last week, although the company set records or beat expectations, the market punished Facebook the same way, as shares fell about 5 percent in pre-market trading Thursday.

That may tend to lead to some confusion on Wall Street as to what to make of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) going forward. The company reported $1.59 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 with an EPS of 17 cents, both of which beat estimates of $1.52 billion and 16 cents. However, the stock has seen some mixed results from analysts. Pivotal Research Group upgraded the stock from hold to buy and raised its price target from $30 to $36 per share, while Stifel Nicolaus downgraded from buy to hold and re-set its price target at $31.24 per share. Why the conflict when the numbers looked good?

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)Apparently it seems that what the future holds for Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is a bit uncertain and depends on whether an analyst is a half-full or half-empty type. At Pivotal Research Group, analyst Brian Wieser said that knowing that Facebook ad revenue doubled in the quarter, “It is now clear that growth in mobile occurred primarily as the company ‘flipped the switch’ and began to effectively bundle sales of mobile and desktop advertising,” he wrote in his note. “On this basis, growth for the core products against core customers appeared solid, and very consistent with our positive expectations for the fourth quarter.”

Over a Stifel Nicolaus, however, analyst Jordan Rohan wrote that it was reacting to Facebook’s own expectation of having some margin compression in the coming year, which he wrote would lead to “a fundamental downshift in the earnings trajectory.”

What do other analysts say about Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)? More of the same?

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