On Friday, the shares of Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) increased by $0.90. This advance came after Mark May, an analyst from Citigroup, reiterated a Buy rating on the stock. He also raised his price target to $97 from $91. May cited revenue potential as the reason for his bullish rating of the social media giant. That is, the two companies that Facebook acquired, Instagram and WhatsApp, are the drivers that will help to boost Facebook’s potential user growth and future revenue. Recently, Facebook began testing the integration of WhatsApp onto Android phones as well as onto its platform. This marks the first sign of WhatsApp on the social media site since the app was purchased over a year ago. Meanwhile, there have been reports that both companies are working together to provide a deeper integration of the two products which will then enable users to send messages between WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Also, while Instagram has over 300 million users, with more than seventy percent based outside the U.S., the photo sharing application has yet to bring in significant revenue for Facebook. Over the next few years, the platform is looking to expand its advertising efforts while it is currently implementing advertising on its Canadian and Australian platforms. Mark May has rated Facebook eight times since the middle of 2013 and he has earned a success rate of 86 percent when it comes to recommending the social media giant.
With the markets closed in the U.S. on Friday for the Easter holiday, the March nonfarm payrolls report showed that the country created the fewest new jobs in 15 months. With such a big decline in the hiring of people, the question now stands as to whether the U.S. economy is simply suffering with a temporary setback or if a broader slowdown is underway. Data released by the Labor Department showed that for March, the economy generated only 126,000 new jobs. This broke the streak of 12 straight months of gains of 200,000. The March NFP data also marked the smallest gain since December 2013 while the report also showed that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.5 percent. While the U.S. markets were closed, the stock futures (ESM5, -0.66%) declined after the report. With such disappointing results, the question now arises as to when we can expect the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates. Most analysts now expect the Fed to wait until the end of summer before raising rates for the first time since 2006.
In forex trading on Friday in Asia, the U.S. dollar (USD) traded higher. Trading was thin due to the Easter holiday while investors also shifted their attention to the U.S. jobs data as well as the nuclear deal with Iran. The AUD/USD traded at 0.7578, down 0.18 percent while the EUR/USD traded down 0.11% at 1.0869. According to Reuters, on Wednesday, Greece advised its creditors that the country could run out of money on the 9th of April. On this date, Greece will owe a payment to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of €450 million. While Greece might successfully be able to repay government pensions and salaries and also to meet its obligations to the IMF, it currently looks as if the country will not be able to do either of them. In other currency trading, against the Japanese yen, the USD held steady with USD/JPY trading at 119.71, down 0.01 percent. Also, the U.S. dollar index rose to 97.83, up 0.05 percent.
In Asian trading on Monday, crude oil prices gained. Crude oil for May delivery traded at $49.67 a barrel, up 0.29 percent, on the NYMEX. Meanwhile, last week, crude oil prices dropped sharply on Thursday. This came after a tentative nuclear deal was negotiated by the Western powers with Iran which could add more crude oil to a market that is already oversupplied. On Thursday, Brent crude for delivery in May traded at $54.95 a barrel, down 3.77% or $2.15, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.