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Why Facebook May Have Reached a Bottom

As hard as it may be to believe, I have always wanted to like Facebook (FB).

However, as a value investor, finding the right opportunity to "like" Facebook has always come as a great challenge.

Recently, upon its somewhat disappointing earnings results, I've tried to make it a value play by offering this argument: Should its stock continue to drop, it might soon become an acquisition target of Apple (AAPL), especially considering the two companies are already great friends.

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What's more, there's the possibility that Facebook might acquire Research In Motion (RIMM). Its business and sustainability is now heavily predicated on its ability to perfect mobile ad revenue. Facebook would instantaneously become a hardware and services company, putting to rest all of its critics who doubt the value of social media.

However, this time I think there are more compelling reasons to consider the stock -- none more important than the fact that it just might have reached bottom. This is despite others stating that "bottom-revealing" scenarios have yet to play out. For that matter, calling it a "near-term bottom" is not entirely out of the question.

After all, its fundamentals have yet to change. But who says that changing fundamentals is a requirement for a potentially great trade?

When Facebook reached its 52-week low last Thursday at $19.82, the stock had bounced as high as 13%. What's more, it closed that day at $20.04. While not an entirely revealing platform, what it shows is there is strong support at $20.

If you recall, the stock reacted precisely the same when, upon its drop from its $38 initial public offering price, it bounced near the $25 mark to then reemerge above $30. Am I suggesting this is what is going to happen this time? Not entirely. But the patterns are pretty telling.

As Facebook continues to be an anomaly, it would not be surprising to see the stock approach $26 over the next couple of weeks.

For that matter, it is worth noting the company has just received an upgrade by Bernstein from sell to hold with a price target of $23, representing a P/E of 64-times next year's earnings and a premium of 15% from current levels.

As optimistic as it may be to look at the glass-half-full prospects of the company, investors should also start asking some very important questions.

What is likely to happen when the IPO lockup period is over? Will early investors rush to dump the stock and move on with their lives? Also, when are insiders going to start buying the stock? After all, if they loved it at $38, it goes without saying they should love it even more at $20.

Will analysts start downgrading the stock? In other words, will the company be given more reachable goals? Although it reported what I considered respectable numbers in its most recent earnings report, the company also revealed slowing revenue growth -- whereas its chief rival, Google (GOOG), continues to trend in the opposite direction.

So far the company has shown to be pretty resilient and investors have (for the most part) said $20 is fair value. But the question is, for how long? With the stock now trading almost 50% below its IPO price of just three months ago, it is hard to ignore the possibility of a pop while the company works towards fixing what ails it.

I think the company will prove eventually that it is more than just a fad. But it has to prove first that in addition to being a good idea it has a better underlying business.

Until then, it would appear that for this current brief period, its technicals have surpassed its fundamentals and that just might be enough to call a bottom -- at least for now.

At the time of publication, the author was long AAPL, but had no position in any of the other stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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