Meta movin’ up: How Wall Street warmed up to Facebook once again

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Call it a case of social climbing.

After plunging down the ranks of the largest U.S. companies late last year, Meta Platforms Inc. is making a big comeback.

Meta finished Thursday’s session as the eighth-largest public U.S. company by market value. The company hadn’t had a place in the top 10 since October 2022, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

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With a closing market cap of $489.4 billion Thursday, Meta was still worth less than half of what it was when it peaked upwards of $1 trillion in September 2021. The company also remained far away from the true lions of Big Tech—Apple Inc. Microsoft Corp. Alphabet Inc. and Inc. —all of which were still worth more than $1 trillion as of Thursday’s close.

But Meta had come a long way from its standing in early November, when it sat at No. 25 at the end of three different trading sessions. Back then, it was worth less than companies such as Eli Lilly & Co. Home Depot Inc. and PepsiCo Inc.

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The Facebook parent company’s ascension, once again, through the throngs of corporate heavyweights makes for a pretty staggering chart. It captures Meta’s changing views on cost discipline, as shares of the company tanked when executives announced an aggressive expense forecast three months back, causing Meta’s market cap to sink below $250 billion in early November. The chart also shows Meta’s sharp rebounds after management changed its tune by conducting layoffs and cutting that spending outlook.

For illustrative purposes, we’ll lop off Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, Tesla Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and focus on companies that both were ahead of Meta when it ranked 25th and whose market values have been roughly in the same vicinity as Meta’s over the course of the past six months.

Meta’s move within the top 25

While Meta has been on a tumultuous ride in recent months, the reason behind the company’s completion of its top-10 round trip is pretty straightforward.

“All that Wall Street needed to see was in the first paragraph of the press release: ‘Our management theme for 2023 is the ‘Year of Efficiency,’” said Nick Mazing, the director of research at AlphaSense/Sentieo.

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