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Why Facebook Inc. Stock Soared 9% Thursday

By Daniel Sparks – Updated Apr 26, 2018 at 12:56PM

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As usual, the social network obliterated analyst estimates. Here's what investors should know.

What happened

Shares of social network Facebook (META -3.67%) jumped as much as 9.3% on Thursday, following the company's first-quarter earnings release Wednesday afternoon. At the time of this writing, shares are up 8.9%.

Facebook crushed analyst expectations for its first quarter, with revenue and earnings per share coming in at $12 billion and $1.69. On average, analysts were expecting revenue and EPS of $11.4 billion and $1.35. 

A group of young people using their smartphones

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Facebook's financial results demonstrated the company's rapid growth. Its 49% year-over-year revenue growth was up from 47% year-over-year growth in both Facebook's fourth quarter and the full year of 2017. And its 63% year-over-year increase in EPS was far ahead of the 30% growth analysts were expecting.

Facebook's user growth also continued to rise nicely, with monthly and daily active users both increasing 13% year over year and 3% sequentially during the period. This is encouraging since it follows changes to the news feed earlier this year that CEO Mark Zuckerberg said would prioritize posts from friends and family, but ultimately decrease the amount of time users spend on the social network.

Now what

Looking ahead, Facebook maintained its guidance for quarterly year-over-year growth rates to decelerate throughout 2018. But management narrowed its guidance range for operating expenses. Facebook now expects operating expenses to grow 50% to 60% year over year. Previously, management was guiding for 45% to 60% growth. A more aggressive outlook for operating expense growth reflects management's plans to make significant investments across safety and security, content acquisition, and "long-term innovation efforts," CFO David Wehner said.

And it's important to note that management said it believes it can improve privacy and security while also continuing to strengthen its ad business.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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