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Meta’s $676 Billion Rout Boots It Out of World’s Top 20 Stocks

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 10/27/2022 Subrat Patnaik

(Bloomberg) -- Meta Platforms Inc. shareholders are paying dearly for its spending on the metaverse: The Facebook parent’s market value has collapsed by a whopping $676 billion this year, forcing it out from the ranks of the world’s 20 largest companies.

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The punishment shows no signs of easing anytime soon. Meta’s stock tumbled 25%, its worst one-day drop since February, after it spooked investors with ballooning costs to fund its version of virtual reality and a decline in revenue.

Booted Out | Meta’s steep rout pushes it out of the world's top 20 largest firms list © Bloomberg Booted Out | Meta’s steep rout pushes it out of the world's top 20 largest firms list

Meta was the sixth biggest US company by market capitalization at the start of the year, flirting with a $1 trillion market value. Fast forward 10 months and the stock is now worth about $260 billion, ranking it 27th in the world. Its market value is now smaller than companies including Chevron Corp., Eli Lilly & Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

Once a Wall Street darling, Meta is gradually losing favor with brokerages. At least three investment banks -- Morgan Stanley, Cowen and KeyBanc Capital Markets -- cut their rating on the stock after the company gave a disappointing quarterly revenue outlook.

“Meta remains too aggressive with its investments in long-term initiatives despite a sharp deceleration in expected revenue growth,” said Mandeep Singh, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The company’s opex and capex view for 2023 is surprising, given the lack of traction so far with its metaverse efforts.” 

While Thursday’s slump was a big move, it pales in comparison to its record-setting rout in February when it plunged 26% on the back of woeful earnings results, and erased about $251 billion in market value. That was the biggest wipeout in market value for any US company ever. 

The decline in the stock this year has attracted value investors, who buy beaten-down stocks in anticipation of a turnaround. But there’s no sign of those bets paying off any time soon. 

Meta Platforms trades at 50% discount to Nasdaq 100, steepest ever © Bloomberg Meta Platforms trades at 50% discount to Nasdaq 100, steepest ever

Meta announced its shift to investing in virtual reality a year ago, along with a name change of the company from Facebook Inc. to Meta Platforms. The company said Wednesday it expects total expenses for this year to be $85 billion to $87 billion. 

For 2023, that number will grow to an expected $96 billion to $101 billion. That’s the big negative, since investors were hoping Meta would aggressively cut costs, said Neil Campling, an analyst at Mirabaud Securities. 

The company’s quarterly capital expenditure was more than all but what 16 of the S&P 500 companies spent last year, according to Bloomberg data. 

Campling likened a buillish trade in Meta to IBM in 2005, saying “like IBM symbolizes dinosaur tech 1.0… so Meta faces the risk of being the next-generation fossil.”

--With assistance from Tom Contiliano, Kit Rees and Matt Turner.

(Updates pricing throughout)

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