Why Facebook Will Soar Tomorrow and TripAdvisor Will Tumble

The blue chips finished slightly down today as earnings season marched. Facebook shares flew higher after a stellar report after hours, while TripAdvisor stumbled as profits missed.

Jul 23, 2014 at 10:00PM

Stocks finished mixed today as a 2.6% gain in Apple stock following its earnings report last night led the S&P 500 to a new closing record, gaining 0.2% to finish at 1,987, while the Nasdaq also moved up 0.4%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI), meanwhile, fell 27 points, or 0.2%, weighed down by Boeing shares, which dropped 2.3% on tanker expenses in its earnings report. 

Thus far, earnings season has been better than normal as 68% of S&P 500 companies to report have beaten earnings estimates, above the long-term average of 63%, while revenue numbers have also been better than the historical average. 

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After hours today, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) became the latest tech giant to deliver strong earnings, surging 5.5% after its quarterly results blew past expectations once again. Mobile ad revenue soared for the social network, up 143%, and drove an overall revenue increase of 61% to $2.91 billion, ahead of Wall Street estimates at $2.8 billion. Bottom-line results were even stronger as the world's second most-visited website said adjusted profits per share more than doubled from $0.19 to $0.42, breezing past expectations at $0.33. Overall, Facebook is still seeing steady user growth, as that figure increased 14% from a year ago to 1.32 billion as more of the world comes online, and daily users grew by 19%. CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an understatement called it a "good second quarter."

With every report, Facebook make its IPO debacle more of a distant memory as its enormous competitive advantages, similar to the way Google dominates search, should ensure continued profit growth for years to come. When tomorrow's session opens, Facebook stock will be at record highs, likely worth more than $200 billion, and with profits doubling it may not be long before its market cap hits $300 billion.

Moving in the opposite direction in the extended session was TripAdvisor (NASDAQ:TRIP), whose shares fell 11% after the travel review website came up short on the bottom line. TripAdvisor said profits improved from $0.52 to just $0.55, missing estimates at $0.61. The slow earnings growth came as revenue jumped 30.8% to $323 million, edging past expectations at $321.7 million.  Marketing costs were up more than 50% in the quarter, putting a damper on profit growth. Shares of the travel site have exploded since the company was spun off from Expedia in late 2011, gaining nearly 300%. It now carries a similar valuation to Facebook, both in terms of profits and sales, but TripAdvisor does not have anywhere near the economic moat that Facebook does as it competes closely with Yelp as well as travel-booking sites like priceline.com. Considering that, especially quarter with nearly flat earnings growth in the past quarter, I'd say TripAdvisor shares might be due for a further correction.

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Jeremy Bowman owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Facebook, Google (A and C shares), Priceline Group, TripAdvisor, and Yelp and owns shares of Apple, Facebook, Google (A and C shares), and Priceline Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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