Facebook earnings beat expectations, stock falls

Yahoo Finance

Facebook’s (FB) first quarter earnings are out and it’s a beat.

In the quarter, the company reported earnings per share of $1.04 on revenue of $8.03 billion. Expectations were for earnings of $0.87 on revenue of $7.83 billion.

Facebook also said it will no longer report earnings on an adjusted, or non-GAAP, basis.

Monthly active users totaled 1.94 billion while daily active users hit 1.28 billion. Expectations were for these numbers to hit 1.9 billion and 1.26 billion, respectively.

Following earnings, shares of the company were down about 2%.

“We had a good start to 2017,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in a release. “We’re continuing to build tools to support a strong global community.”

Facebook added that in the first quarter, mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 85% of advertising revenue, up from approximately 82% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2016.

As of the end of the first quarter, the company held about $32 billion in cash and equivalents, and its headcount was 18,770, up 38% from last year.

Ahead of the report, most analysts were focused on finding out how much the company’s ad revenue growth would slow during the quarter. In the first quarter, ad revenue grew 51% over last year to $7.86 billion.

On Facebook’s fourth quarter earnings conference call, CFO David Wehner said ad revenue growth would “come down meaningfully” this year as the company acknowledged its News Feed product was essentially at capacity for serving users with ads.

Investors will also look for updates from Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing network, which boasts 700 million monthly active users and 1 million monthly advertisers, during the company’s earnings call.

During the first quarter, Snapchat parent company Snap Inc (SNAP) made its debut on the public market, and much has been made about how many of Snapchat’s features Facebook has been copying in recent months.

Yahoo Finance’s Melody Hahm noted ahead of earnings that while Facebook’s New Feed is nearing capacity for ads, Wehner said Instagram presents a much bigger opportunity for the company.

Ahead of earnings on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company would hire 3,000 human content monitors to help track and take down content published to Facebook the company does not want featured.

Facebook’s Facebook Live platform, which was much-hyped by the company when it was launched last year, was initially used for broadcasting thing like exploding watermelons and Chewbacca mom, but has since become a more prominent platform for those broadcasting violent crime.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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