Why Meta, Amazon, and Zynga Are Baird’s Top Internet Stock Picks

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Zynga headquarters in San Francisco

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The internet will be a “menu of opportunities” for 2022, according to Baird analyst Colin Sebastian.

For Sebastian, the top picks on next year’s menu are Meta Platforms (ticker: FB ), Amazon.com ( AMZN ) and Zyng a ( ZNGA ).

“Investors remain focused on shorter-term trends, near-term comps, and macro influences, more than on longer-term secular growth drivers,” Sebastian wrote in a research note. “While we generally prefer companies with large TAMs [total addressable markets] and strong engineering capabilities, we are also factoring in near-term growth comps and margin trends.”

Sebastian believes Meta stock has further room to outperform in 2022 as the company’s overall market share in online advertising increases, comps become easier, and new segment reporting spotlights margins in the company’s core business. While there has been much chatter over Meta’s role in building out the metaverse in the future, he doesn’t foresee the benefits from augmented/virtual reality materializing until “the years ahead.”

Amazon was another one of Baird’s top mega-cap picks. The company likely will have easier growth comps and the potential to leverage recent investments, Sebastian said. Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) could also be well-positioned to address the growing need to spend on cloud services, he added.

Amazon.com is also one of Barron’s top stock picks for the new year.

“While the Street has been slower to embrace Amazon as a key beneficiary of digital transformation and a mix shift towards recurring revenues, we think that concerns over slower online retail growth and lower margins have largely run their course,” Sebastian wrote.

Wall Street also has been reticent to embrace Zynga, citing concerns over its lack of organic growth and headwinds in customer acquisition — but Sebastian sees those weaknesses as a boon for opportunistic buyers. The analyst believes the stock has a few tailwinds coming its way, including ramping up monetization of mobile and cross-platform games and an upcoming change in Apple’s ( AAPL ) App Store policy.The stock has limited risks to its current growth and margin expectations, Sebastian added.

Other bargain stocks Sebastian highlighted include Corsair Gaming ( CRSR ), Vroom ( VRM ), Playtika Holding ( PLTK ) and Alibaba ( BABA). HIs splurge stocks were Airbnb (ABNB) and Shopify (SHOP).

Investors who aren’t scared of a little risk could consider betting on controversial stocks that could have significant upside next year, such as Activision Blizzard ( ATVI ), Twitter ( TWTR ), and Vroom, Sebastian said.

Amazon stock was down 0.2% to $3,406.61, and Zynga was dropping 1% to $6.33 Wednesday. Meta was up by 0.2%.

Write to Sabrina Escobar at sabrina.escobar@barrons.com