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Why SINA Stock Dropped Today

By Steve Symington - Updated May 23, 2019 at 1:29PM

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Macro headwinds will temper the Chinese web media leader's ad sales later this year.

What happened

Shares of SINA (SINA) were down 10.7% as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Thursday after the Chinese internet media company announced disappointing first-quarter 2019 earnings and offered a cautious view of the year ahead.

SINA's quarterly revenue grew 8% year over year to $475.1 million, translating to adjusted (non-GAAP) net income of $28.9 million, or $0.40 per share (down from $0.47 per share in the year-ago period). By comparison -- and though we don't usually pay close attention to Wall Street's demands -- these results were technically mixed relative to consensus estimates for higher earnings of $0.42 per share on revenue closer to $473 million.

Asian stock market data displayed on an LED screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Driving SINA's top-line increase was a combination of 6% growth in advertising revenue, to $388 million, as a 13% increase from its Weibo micro-blogging platform offset declines from its core portal business. Meanwhile, SINA saw 18% growth from its non-advertising revenue streams, driven by both Weibo's live-streaming business and SINA's financial-technology operations.

Now what

But that alone doesn't explain SINA's drop today. For that, recall in early March that SINA management provided guidance for full-year revenue growth of 18% to 25% on a constant-currency basis. When asked about its outlook during the subsequent conference call today, however, CFO Bonnie Yi Zhang cautioned that given current macroeconomic uncertainties, the company is tempering its expectations for advertising growth rates at both Weibo and the SINA portal business.

"[F]rom total advertising revenue for the full year compared to the initial estimates we have been given in the early part of the year," Zhang said, "we see that forecast being challenging in the current market conditions."

In the end, after coupling that cautious outlook with SINA's relative earnings underperformance in Q1, the stock is understandably pulling back as a result.

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