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13th May 2022

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Facebook Reports Earnings Wednesday. What to Expect.

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Despite controversy, economic damage to online ads amid Covid-19 pandemic-related economic turmoil, and antitrust scrutiny,

Facebook

is expected to report another blockbuster quarter Wednesday.

As demonstrated by powerful results last week from Snapchat maker

Snap

(ticker: SNAP), digital advertising is coming back, fast.

Facebook

(FB) stands to make even more money than Snap. Analysts expect a net profit of nearly $7 billion, which amounts to $2.61 a share, when Facebook reports results after the closing bell Wednesday.

Including sales of its virtual reality hardware, and other devices—which are expected contribute to the estimated $452 million to the “Other” revenue segment—Facebook revenue is expected to rise roughly 33% to $23.71 billion. The ad business will contribute revenue of $23.29 billion.

Facebook is expected to grow its user base by tens of millions as well. Analysts forecast its daily member count will rise to 1.87 billion, and monthly user base will top 2.83 billion. Its monthly user base is expected to reach almost 3 billion (2.99 billion) by the end of the year.

Beyond advertising, BMO Capital Markets analyst
Daniel Salmon
wrote in a research note that commerce and shopping are becoming more important for Facebook’s success.

In March, Facebook chief executive
Mark Zuckerberg
said there were one million Facebook Shops, and 250 million visitors. Salmon said that if the company discloses the gross merchandise volume, it could help cement the importance to investors of Facebook’s commerce initiatives. Salmon acknowledged that such as disclosure wasn’t likely.

Investors have been wondering for months about the impact of a change to

Apple

‘s mobile operating system tech, which finally rolled out this week.

On Monday, in an update to its iOS operating system, Apple changed its software to ask iPhone and iPad users to opt in to an app’s tracking—a significant departure from the opt out ability buried in the operating system’s settings previously.

Zuckerberg and

Apple

(APPL) CEO
Tim Cook
have sparred over the issue for months. With just over a day’s worth of data, it seems unlikely Facebook will share details about the impact on its users. Previously developers have said it will hurt advertising targeting, and therefore damage ad revenue. It isn’t yet clear exactly what Apple users will do when presented with the choice, or the effectiveness of potential workarounds built by Facebook and others.

BofA Securities analyst Justin Post wrote that he expects a “modest, low-single digit” impact on advertising spending on the platform since Facebook has had “ample time to prepare and develop workarounds.”

Facebook finance chief
David Wehner
has discussed the potential impact on the business in past conference calls, and investors should pay close attention to any updates offered Wednesday. It’s worth noting that Zuckerberg took a less cautious tone in March, saying that he was confident the company will handle the situation. There is also the potential it could positively benefit the company, the CEO said.

Of the analysts that cover Facebook, 49 rate the stock Buy, six have a Hold, and three rate it a Sell. The average target price is $339, which implies an upside of 12%.

Barron’s took a positive view of Facebook stock earlier this month. Shares have climbed 2% since the cover story in the April 5 issue, as the S&P 500 index rose 4.1%. Facebook gained 0.7% to $305.02 in Tuesday afternoon trading.

Write to Max A. Cherney at max.cherney@barrons.com

2021-04-27 19:05:00


www.barrons.com


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