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Facebook Price Target Hiked As Shipments Of Oculus Rift Take Flight

Facebook Price Target Hiked As Shipments Of Oculus Rift Take Flight

As its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset began landing in the hands of buyers Monday, Facebook (FB) received upbeat reports from two analysts.

Evercore ISI analyst Ken Sena hiked his price target on Facebook stock to 150 from 140, saying the company is in a strong position to dominate the messaging market with its WhatsApp and Messenger applications while attracting more developers.

Facebook stock was up a fraction, near 114, in early afternoon trading in the stock market today. Facebook is trading comfortably above its 50-day moving average as it works on a new base with a 117.69 buy point.

“With a combined 1.8 billion messaging users between WhatsApp and Messenger alone, Facebook offers developers an audience essentially as large as the entirety of the iOS and Android user base, ex-China,” he wrote.

Sena said the ease of use of those apps positions Facebook’s messaging ecosystem “to showcase itself as possibly the next leading developer ecosystem.” It also provides Facebook with a revenue opportunity which Sena estimates at $4 billion.

Steve Weinstein, an analyst at ITG Investment Research, wrote in a separate research report that he sees revenue growth at Facebook accelerating above Wall Street’s consensus estimates, which could could give the stock a charge.

Based on an analysis of data through February, Weinstein estimates Facebook’s first-quarter revenue in the U.S. and Europe is accelerating above the analyst estimates. He projects Q1 revenue will come in at $5.45 billion, up 54% year over year and above the $5.25 billion consensus view reported by Thomson Reuters.

The upbeat reports come as Facebook began shipping its virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift, on Monday. Research firm CCS Insight estimates the overall virtual reality device market, including the related augmented reality field, will exceed $4 billion in annual sales within three years.