Facebook is expected to report first-quarter earnings and revenue in extended trading on Wednesday, and investors will be watching for clues on how the social network plans to monetize its key Stories feature.
Wall Street anticipates that the company will report earnings of $1.63 per share ー down from $1.69 a year ago ー and revenue of $14.9 billion, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
Facebook ($FB) shares have rebounded close to 50 percent since December lows. The stock had weakened throughout 2018 following a series of data breaches and privacy scandals. Its recovery suggests investors may be feeling confident Facebook can weather future regulatory or privacy challenges that come its way.
That doesn't, of course, discount any more potential revelations regarding Facebook's privacy mismanagement. Facebook disclosed on Apr. 19 ー the same day that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russia and the White House dropped ー that login info for millions of Instagram users had been stored in a readable format on Facebook's internal servers, Common Dreams reported.
Facebook's fourth-quarter results reinforced investor optimism. The company reported stronger than anticipated earnings and revenue, despite ongoing controversy over the company's handling of privacy and its users' data. The company's earnings jumped 68 percent since the previous year and revenue climbed by about 61 percent, CNBC reported. Facebook also saw daily active users grow in its core Facebook product, even the U.S., where active users had previously plateaued.
The company also announced last quarter it would stop breaking out active users for its core Facebook platform, instead wrapping them into metrics from its other properties. That move would likely hide stagnation for Facebook, but also could hamper bigger growth numbers from products like Instagram.
Lastly, Facebook has been laser-focused on its Stories features and messaging apps. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will shift focus toward encrypted and private messaging, despite the company's rather checkered history with privacy. Facebook execs could share clarification on its plans to monetize Stories and unify messaging on a call with investors after the social media giant reports earnings.