Mark Zuckerberg is living a stock market fairytale as Meta adds $260 billion in value after he hinted at more layoffs

February 2, 2023, 7:00 PM UTC
Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to participants during the Viva Technologie show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 24, 2018 in Paris, France.
Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images

A spectacular turnaround in Meta Platforms Inc.’s stock is bringing back flashes of Big Tech heydays.

The Facebook owner’s stock surged as much as 26%, its biggest intraday jump in nearly a decade, to help it briefly trade over $500 billion in market capitalization. The latest rally comes after Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg pledged Wednesday to make the social media company leaner. Analysts welcomed the move, with at least three brokerages upgrading their recommendations on the stock after the earnings report.

The advance comes almost a year to the day since Meta posted the worst one-day crash in stock market history. 

Thursday’s gains help the company add about $260 billion in market value since its November low, cementing its place as the best-performing stock on the S&P 500 Index in the last three months. The social media giant is adding about $90 billion to its market cap, its biggest ever single-session market value gain, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“In future years we will probably look back at 2023 as the sentiment shift for META shares,” Barclays Plc analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note, raising the price target to $260 from $165.

To be sure, there was plenty of room for reversal after Meta’s worst year as a public company. This time last year, the Facebook owner plunged 26% on the back of disappointing earnings results, erasing about $250 billion in market value, the biggest wipeout in stock market history.

The stock is still about 50% below its 2021 peak, but analysts see a bull case building after the company’s latest update.

Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak noted that there was “an impressive sea change” at Meta, and increased his price target on the shares to $190 from $130. 

“Meta’s cultural change focused on efficiency” is leading to lower costs while investments are driving faster revenue growth, Nowak wrote in a note. 

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