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Twitter earnings beat estimates, stock spikes

Zack Guzman
Senior Writer

Twitter (TWTR) announced its Q3 2018 earnings on Thursday, beating analysts’ projections on its top and bottom lines. Its stock was up over 13% in premarket trading.

The social media giant reported earnings of $0.21 per share on $758.1 million in revenue. Analysts were expecting earnings of about $0.14 per share on $701 million in revenue, according to Bloomberg.

Twitter also posted a 9 million user drop in its closely watched monthly active users number, falling to an average of 326 million active users in the third quarter. Investors had been prepared for a 5 million user slide in monthly active users after the company warned of the trend last quarter.

The Twitter logo and stock prices are shown above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, U.S., January 23, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The company also reported a 9% year-over-year rise in daily active users, which investors had been closely watching to judge increased engagement on the platform as the company continues its push to work on “health initiatives,” or a wide cleaning of hate speech and suspect accounts.“We’re achieving meaningful progress in our efforts to make Twitter a healthier and valuable everyday service,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement.  “We’re doing a better job detecting and removing spammy and suspicious accounts at sign-up.”

Advertising revenue in the third quarter jumped 29% from a year prior to $650 million, boosted in part by its sports partnerships with Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball. The increase in U.S.-led ad revenues, as well as a 30% increase in total international revenue, helped Twitter notch its fourth consecutive quarter of revenue growth.

Twitter’s monthly active users (MAUs) declined by 9 million in the third quarter to fall to 326 million.

In response to an analyst’s question on the company’s earnings call, Twitter CFO Ned Segal reiterated that the company can continue to deliver increases in revenue despite downturns in monthly active users.

“This is the third quarter in a row where we’ve grown revenue in excess of audience,” he said. “As we continue to deliver better ad formats, better relevance, against a larger and more engaged audience we’re delivering better for advertisers and we think this is something that we can do for a sustained period of time.”

Continuing to make good on that promise will be closely watched next quarter. The company expects another “mid-single-digit millions” drop in average monthly active users in the fourth quarter as it continues to shore up what Dorsey called “spammy” accounts.

The earnings beat gave Twitter shares a boost in what has been a rough stretch over the last three months, during which Twitter shares have dropped roughly 30%.

Zack Guzman is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @zGuz

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