December 26, 2018 / 5:08 PM / 5 months ago

Facebook shares could hit $160 in 2019: Citron

FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed cyber code in this illustration taken March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) - Short-seller Citron Research on Wednesday backed Facebook Inc, saying the stock could hit $160 in 2019 as the company’s revenue and user base have seen little impact from the reported data scandals and privacy issues this year.

Shares of the social network rose as much as 4.4 percent to $129.57 after Citron’s report. They are down 28 percent this year.

"We believe investors will be rewarded by the shift of user behavior to Instagram shopping and the personalization of the commerce process," according to Citron's research note here.

Citron said Facebook has come a long way, turning the short-seller from a “one-time skeptic to a major bull”.

“As investors have become overly concerned about the short-term noise of privacy and propaganda, they have forgotten to look at the earnings power and potential of the most advanced advertising tool with global reach in messaging, networking, and the future of shopping,” the short-seller said.

Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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