It's now been 4 quarters of earnings report data for Facebook (FB) since the company went public last May, and it's finally posted its first positive surprise. After the bell Wednesday the iconic social media firm announced it had earned 9 cents per share (accounting for stock-based compensation; the 'headline' number was 12 cents), a penny (12.5%) better than the expected $0.08. Facebook also brought in slightly higher revenues for its March quarter: $1.46 billion in sales versus the expected $1.447 billion in the Zacks Consensus Estimates.
Questions upon every analysts' lips had to do with Facebook increasing its business in the Mobility market, and the company delivered: 751 million users is up 54% year over year and higher than expected. Ad revenue from Mobility hit 30%, better than the 27% anticipated. Though the company generates less revenue per Mobile application, it's clearly the place to be right now for a plurality of tech firms. And Mobile claims more than 25% of Facebook's revenues currently.
Considering Facebook's less-than-glamorous beginning as a publicly traded entity nearly a year ago, Mark Zuckerberg's company has made slow but steady progress getting back toward the company's IPO listing price of $36 per share. Facebook is currently close to knocking on the door of $30 -- well, $28 -- in a down-market during regular trading hours today. Prior to the bell, FB had fallen 1.27%, only to gain a bit in the after-market before slipping a couple cents as of now.
Analysts had been modestly upbeat with earnings expectations, with one upward revision in the past 30 days and one the last 60. This was enough to get Facebook recommended as a Zacks Rank #2 before today's announcement. The Zacks Consensus EPS for the quarter remained .08 almost completely throughout throughout the quarter.
Headwinds for the company -- naturally, that is -- are European growth (or lack thereof) and a Chinese economy that continues pulling back. Facebook also now faces more competition with the build-out of Google+ (GOOG) and LinkedIn (LNKD), which are both focused on taking share from Facebook.
Certainly the Facebook story has been a phenomenal one so far -- heck, they even had an Oscar-winning movie about it -- but the chapters are beginning to read like any other book these days. If the company can continue gaining in Mobile usage and successfully fends off its competition, perhaps Aaron Sorkin may write a sequel one day, after all.
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