With Facebook’s parent Meta reporting a profit ahead of Wall Street analysts’ estimate, shares of facebook surged by 20% since it defied low investor expectations.
Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, the company aims to scale back costs and was investing in artificial intelligence tools to improve recommendations and ads, a sign Meta is buckling down to make money while working on its long-term ambitions to build the metaverse.
Meta’s shares rose by 19% in after-hours trade on Wednesday.
Meta’s profit was way ahead of analysts’ estimate of $2.56, while it reported a profit of $2.72 per share. The earning beats were tempered by Meta recording its slowest revenue growth in a decade.
Facebook daily active users (DAU), a key metric for advertisers, were 1.96 billion, slightly higher than the estimate of 1.95 billion. Monthly active users came in at 2.94 billion, missing Wall Street estimates by 30 million.
Since the beginning of this year, Meta has lost 50% of its value following a dismal earnings report in February wherein it reported a decline in daily active users for the first time and forecast a gloomy quarter.
“It’s good news that Meta somehow managed to eke out growth in DAU. It needed to show some sort of turnaround from last quarter’s performance,” said Debra Williamson, an analyst at Insider Intelligence.
She went on to add, “However, growth in monthly active users is slowing quickly. A few quarters ago it could count on developing markets to keep the growth engine going but it’s likely that even these high-growth opportunities are starting to dry up”.
Total revenue, the bulk of which comes from ad sales, rose 7% to $27.91 billion in the first quarter, but missed analysts’ estimates of $28.20 billion.
During a conference call with analysts Meta’s Chief Financial Officer Dave Wehner cited factors including a slowdown in ecommerce after rapid growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a loss of revenue in Russia and reduced ad demand amid global economic uncertainty.
Zuckerberg also echoed previous warnings during the call about the challenges of engagement shifting toward features like its short video offering Reels, which generates less revenue than other ad formats.
Meta has forecast second-quarter revenue between $28 billion and $30 billion. Analysts on average were expecting current-quarter revenue of $30.63 billion. The company said its outlook reflected factors including the war in Ukraine and said it was monitoring the potential impact of regulatory moves in Europe
The company has lowered its 2022 expense expectations to between $87 billion and $92 billion, down from its prior outlook of $90 billion to $95 billion.