UK’s competition watchdog launches investigation into Google and Facebook over digital advertising dominance

UKs Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced earlier this week that it had embarked on an investigation into Google and Facebook, since the regulator seeks to determine if on-line platforms cause harm to consumers and competition in the country’s digital advertising market.

Facebook shares closed higher for a second consecutive trading session on NASDAQ on Wednesday. The stock went up 1.13% ($2.20) to $197.20, after touching an intraday high at $197.40, or a price level not seen since April 25th ($198.48).

Alphabet shares closed higher for a fourth consecutive trading session on NASDAQ on Wednesday. The stock went up 0.93% ($10.33) to $1,121.58, after touching an intraday high at $1,126.76, or a price level not seen since May 29th ($1,129.10).

The Competition and Markets Authority said that it was focused specifically on concerns that consumers lack sufficient control over their data and the way it is monetized on on-line platforms.

The regulator also said it was investigating if the dominant position of Facebook and Google in digital advertising obstructed entry for other providers and pressured competition.

Combined Alphabets Google and Facebook account for nearly 61% of digital advertising revenues in the United Kingdom.

“Although the platforms often provide user services for free, a more competitive market might result in consumers being paid for their data, or provide consumers with greater control over how their data is used,” the Competition and Markets Authority said in a statement, cited by CNBC.

The outcome from the investigation is to be announced no later than July 2nd 2020, the regulatory authority said.

Analyst stock price forecast and recommendation

According to CNN Money, the 42 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Facebook Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $225.00, with a high estimate of $250.00 and a low estimate of $120.00. The median estimate represents a 14.10% upside compared to the closing price of $197.20 on July 3rd.

The same media also reported that at least 37 out of 48 surveyed investment analysts had rated Facebook Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 6 – as “Hold”. On the other hand, 1 analyst had recommended selling the stock.

Meanwhile, the 40 analysts, offering 12-month forecasts regarding Alphabet Inc’s stock price, have a median target of $1,350.00, with a high estimate of $1,500.00 and a low estimate of $1,150.00. The median estimate represents a 20.37% upside compared to the closing price of $1,121.58 on July 3rd.

CNN Money also reported that at least 34 out of 43 surveyed investment analysts had rated Alphabet Inc’s stock as “Buy”, while 5 – as “Hold”.

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