Stock Market

From early to mid-August, shares in Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) experienced a slight pullback in price. However, in more recent trading days, META stock has started to bounce back.

As of this writing, the tech giant’s shares are back to the $300 price level. With this, if you so far haven’t added a META position to your portfolio, you may be feeling the FOMO. Maybe you’re tempted to put in a buy order, just in case another strong rally for this strong-performing mega-cap stock to take shape.

Yet while it may seem like the opportunity to “buy the dip” is slipping out of your hands, a closer look suggests that this is not the case. A major reason for the stock’s latest uptick is likely something that will have a temporary impact on its performance.

With this, your best move remains to sit on the sidelines. Here’s why.

META Stock: What’s Behind its Latest Move Higher

After briefly falling to prices below $275 per share last week, Meta Platforms has cracked the $300 per share price level once again. Sure, the overall direction of the stock market certainly played a role in this.

Earlier this month, macro concerns became elevated again, placing pressure on stocks across the board. In more recent trading days, this has eased some. Yet alongside this market-related factor, something more pertinent to this FAANG component has likely played a role in this uptick for META stock.

That would be the company’s debut of a web version of its Threads microblogging platform. As you may recall, this platform was initially off to a strong start after its launch as a mobile app on July 5.

Grabbing 100 million users in just five days, according to a Forbes commentator it is the fast-growing app in history, not to mention a potential “Twitter killer” in the making.

However, with this rapid rise in popularity fading just as fast, excitement about Threads serving as a catalyst faded as well. Hence, with the web app launch possibly causing a resurgence in usage, investors have resumed pricing into the value of META shares.

Why a Threads Uptick Could Prove Fleeting

Renewed enthusiasm for Threads may be sending META stock higher today, but this latest uptick may prove fleeting. The launch of a web app isn’t necessarily a silver bullet, when it comes to the app’s alleged “Twitter killer” ambitions.

As an op-ed published by Bloomberg recently argued, Threads has a long way to go before it has the functionality of Twitter. That’s not all. If it added in these features, becoming better-positioned for monetization, this could cannibalize revenue for the company’s Instagram platform.

If the latest Threads excitement among investors fades, and more of them adopt a similar skeptical view of Threads’ potential as a catalyst for META shares, expect the stock to give back these latest gains. Worse yet, not too long after Threads excitement disappears completely, something else could cause a larger reversal.

As mentioned in my last article on META, the stock market may be at risk of a sell-off within the next few months. High inflation and interest rates, and their impact on corporate earnings, could be what causes the next round of volatility.

While the market may not hammer this stock if a sell-off happens, it may cause a moderate level of near-term declines.

‘Watch and Wait’ Remains Your Best Move

Yes, while I am cautious about Meta Platforms right now, plenty remain bullish about the stock’s potential between now and year’s end.

I’ll also admit that shares aren’t exactly overvalued. META’s forward multiple of 21.9 is reasonable, and in line with its main FAANG peer, Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG,NASDAQ:GOOGL).

Still, those more optimistic about META today may be overestimating its near-term runway. Following the stock’s nearly 136% rally in 2023, the impact of reduced operating costs and rebounding digital advertising demand are likely priced-in.

Chances, so too are the company’s catalysts related to generative artificial intelligence (or generative AI). With downside risk from a market sell-off/correction still outweighing what is arguably limited near-term upside, the main takeaway here is unchanged.

‘Watch and wait’ remains your best move with META stock. Take a second look if shares encounter weakness in the coming months, but otherwise hold off buying.

On the date of publication, Thomas Niel did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Thomas Niel, contributor for InvestorPlace.com, has been writing single-stock analysis for web-based publications since 2016.

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