Why Facebook Stock Surged Today

Growth decelerated, but not nearly as much as expected.

Daniel Sparks
Daniel Sparks
Jan 31, 2019 at 12:01PM
Technology and Telecom

What happened

Shares of social network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) jumped on Thursday, rising as much as 14.1%. As of 10:26 a.m. EST today, the stock was up 12.6%.

The stock's rise follows Facebook's fourth-quarter report this week, which featured better-than-expected results. Revenue and earnings per share for the period beat analyst estimates, and other key metrics saw notable improvements as well.

Fcebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at F8 2018.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image source: Facebook.

So what

For its fourth quarter, Facebook posted revenue of $16.6 billion, up 30% year over year. This is down from 33% year-over-year growth in Q3. Management had guided for fourth-quarter revenue to rise about 24% to 30% year over year. 

Revenue of $16.6 billion in Q4 beat a consensus analyst forecast for revenue to rise 26% year over year to $16.4 billion. EPS for the period was $2.38, easily beating an average analyst estimate for $2.19.

The company's core Facebook platform notably saw sequential growth in daily active users in all four of its geographic segments. This reversed a trend of two quarters in a row of declining daily active users in Europe. On a year-over-year basis, total daily active users on Facebook increased 9% to 1.52 billion.

"Our community and business continue to grow," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in the company's fourth-quarter earnings release. "We've fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we're investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect."

Now what

Facebook said it expects its quarterly year-over-year revenue growth rates to decelerate throughout 2019. Management forecast first-quarter revenue to rise approximately 24% to 26% year over year.

Management also said it expects 2019 expenses to rise 40% to 50% versus 2018 -- a deceleration from a 51% year-over-year increase in expenses in 2018.

Check out the latest Facebook earnings call transcript.