Monday, June 5, 2023

Meta shares pop after company reports first sales increase in four quarters, issues optimistic guidance

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms Inc., center, departs from federal court in San Jose, Calif., on Dec. 20, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Meta shares jumped in extended trading on Wednesday after the company issued revenue for the first quarter that topped estimates and provided optimistic guidance for the current period.

Here are the key numbers:

  • Earnings: $2.20 per share.
  • Revenue: $28.65 billion vs $27.65 billion expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
  • Daily Active Users (DAUs): $2.04 billion vs $2.01 billion expected, according to StreetAccount.
  • Monthly Active Users (MAUs): $2.99 billion vs $2.99 billion expected, according to StreetAccount.
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU): $9.62 vs $9.30 expected, according to StreetAccount.

Meta’s first-quarter sales rose 3% from $27.91 billion a year earlier, after three straight periods in which revenue declined. It wasn’t immediately clear if the company’s figure was comparable to analyst projections of $2.03.

For the second quarter, Meta expects revenue of between $29.5 billion and $32 billion, while analysts were expecting sales of $29.5 billion, according to Refinitiv.

“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Our AI work is driving good results across our apps and business. We’re also becoming more efficient so we can build better products faster and put ourselves in a stronger position to deliver our long term vision.”

Meta’s Reality Labs unit, which is developing the virtual reality and augmented reality technologies for the metaverse, brought in $339 million in sales but logged an operating loss of $3.99 billion. The company added that operating losses in the Reality Labs division will increase this year.  

The company said that total expenses for 2023 will be in the range of $86 billion to $90 billion. That figure includes restructuring costs that range between $3 billion to $5 billion.

The social networking giant added that its capital expenditures to remain in the range of $30-33 billion. That figure accounts for Meta’s “ongoing build out of AI capacity to support ads, Feed and Reels, along with an increased investment in capacity for our generative AI initiatives.”

The after-market rally further boosted a stock that’s been on an upward trend since Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in February that 2023 would be the company’s “year of efficiency.” The shares lost two-thirds of their value in 2022, but were up 74% this year, prior to the earnings report.

Investors have rallied around Zuckerberg’s plans to slim down his company through a series of layoffs, resulting in some 21,000 expected job cuts. The revenue base had been shrinking from a battered online advertising market and the lingering effects of Apple’s 2021 iOS privacy update that dramatically limited ad targeting capabilities.

Google parent Alphabet, which dominates the online ad market along with Meta, reported first-quarter results on Tuesday that beat analysts’ expectations, though ad revenue fell from the prior year.

Outside of Meta’s core ad business, the company is still bleeding money in the metaverse. Reality Labs, the unit responsible for developing virtual and augmented reality technologies, recorded a $3.99 billion operating loss for the quarter after losing $13.72 billion last calendar year.

Watch: Meta’s new focus on cost-cutting is impressive

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