Analyst reports from the 33 banks that led Facebook's initial public offering gave the company's stock a mixed bag of ratings on Wednesday. The day marks the end of a 40-day quiet period after the IPO, during which the underwriters were not allowed to issue commentary.
Facebook's much-ballyhooed IPO landed with a thud on May 18, with the stock closing just 23 cents above its $38 IPO price. It hasn't fared much better since. On Wednesday, it fell 87 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $32.23.
Overall, many analysts had upbeat long-term views of Facebook's prospects, but they acknowledged there will be hurdles ahead. This includes the still-nascent mobile advertising space, where Facebook is just beginning to make inroads.
Here's a sampling of analysts' comments from Wednesday's notes:
"Easy to `like,' hard to love."
_Mark Mahaney, Citigroup
"Internet companies focused on long-term utility over short-term profitability tend to be the most significant wealth creators over the long-term. After all, the Internet is `all about the long-term,' to borrow a phrase from Amazon.com's Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.'"
_ Scott Devitt, Morgan Stanley
"Concerns over "Facebook fatigue" are overstated."
_ Heather Bellini, Goldman Sachs
"We believe the next phase of the Internet will be driven by data and powered by ubiquitous online access, and Facebook is well positioned here through its large and engaged user base, virtual ownership of the social graph, and unwavering focus on the user experience."
_Doug Anmuth, J.P. Morgan
"FB currently does not derive any meaningful revenue from its increasing mobile usage and has not yet proven its ability to do so."
_ Anthony DiClemente, Barclays
"Key risks to the investment ... include Facebook's ability to monetize mobile usage, which remains early stage, while the long-run effectiveness of social advertising is still also somewhat unproven."
_ Spencer Wang, Credit Suisse
"Facebook is working through a trough period in revenue growth and margins, making the stock less attractive to momentum investors. We have modeled the reacceleration of revenue growth in late 2012, with back-to-school, political, and holiday advertising providing potential for upside later in the year."
_Jordan Rohan, Stifel Nicolaus