Facebook earnings: Good, but not good enough
POSTED: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 4:14pm
(CNN) — Facebook's shares plummeted to new all-time lows in after hours trading after the company's first quarterly earnings report failed to wow investors.
Shares of Facebook fell more than 10 % in to around $24 -- nearly 40% below the company's initial public offering price.
Facebook did beat analysts' revenues expectations slightly and earnings matched forecasts, but that was apparently not enough for Wall Street.
Behind the numbers: Facebook is still posing strong growth. It generated $1.18 billion in second quarter revenues, up 32% from a year ago.
And while Facebook reported a net loss of $157 million due mainly to $1.3 billion in compensation expenses tied to stock-based compensation following the IPO, the company did generate a profit of 12 cents per share when excluding those costs.
Analysts were expecting sales of $1.15 billion and earnings (backing out the compensation charges) of 12 cents per share.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighted the company's investment in research and development as a positive.
"Our goal is to help every person stay connected and every product they use be a great social experience," said Zuckerberg in the release. "That's why we're so focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends."
But with total expenses nearly quadrupling from a year ago, some investors may be worried that Facebook is spending too much -- even though Facebook finished the quarter with more than $10 billion in cash.
Since Facebook debuted on May 18, there have been many doubts about the company's ability to find new ways to generate more revenue from its 955 million users. There are also increasing concerns about competition from Google and others.
Investors grew more nervous about Facebook's results Wednesday night, after social gaming company Zynga, a source of 15% of Facebook's first quarter revenues, reported earnings that missed forecasts and lowered its outlook. Zynga's stock plunged nearly 40% Thursday and Facebook fell more than 8%.
It's been a rough few months for the most hyped social media companies. Shares of Pandora and Groupon are down 41% and 67% since their IPOs.
But LinkedIn, which preceded the others to the public markets, is one of the few social media companies that has been a hit on Wall Street. LinkedIn's stock has more than doubled since its IPO in May 2011.
Meanwhile, Apple's results this week gave investors another reason to question whether even the best technology companies are starting to feel the effects of a sluggish global economy. Apple's earnings missed forecasts and the iPhone and iPad maker also issued guidance that was lower than expected.
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