Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) soared as high as 14% today and have since settled into a 9% gain, after surprising the Street with unexpected positive earnings in its latest quarterly report.
So what: Zynga's fiscal fourth quarter saw the Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)-focused game developer turn in earnings of $0.01 per share on revenue of $311 million. Analysts had expected the top-line result but were looking for a $0.03 loss per share, so the positive report caught many by surprise. Zynga's bookings also declined at a slower rate than expected. Analysts were looking at a $212.1 million result there, but Zynga came in well ahead of that number with $261.3 million -- which is still a 15% decline year overyear.
Now what: We won't find out how much of Zynga's revenue came from Facebook until an official 10-K is filed with the SEC, but that number has been trending downward, from 94% in the third quarter of 2011 to 84% in the third quarter of 2012. Despite this positive surprise, Zynga's also anticipating bookings of $200 million to $210 million for the first quarter, and projects a $0.04 to $0.05 loss per share, both well under analyst projections of $232.5 million in bookings and a $0.01 loss. This is a more important number, and it shows that Zynga is hardly out of the woods yet. However, after a nearly 80% loss over the past year, beleaguered shareholders need whatever good news they can get.