Facebook Shares Jump as Second-Quarter Profit Doubles

Facebook shares leaped after the social-media giant reported that second-quarter net income about doubled from a year earlier.
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report reported second-quarter net income nearly doubled on 11% higher revenue, prompting investors to pile into the shares after hours.

At last check, Facebook shares were trading up 6.4% at $249.44. They closed the regular session Thursday up 0.5% at $234.50.

The Menlo Park, Calif., social-media giant, which relies largely on advertising as its income stream, earned $5.18 billion, or $1.80 a share, in the quarter, compared with $2.62 billion, or 91 cents, in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue reached $18.69 billion from $16.89 billion a year earlier.

A survey of analysts by FactSet produced consensus estimates of earnings per share of $1.39 on revenue of $17.34 billion.

Investors are parsing Facebook's results for the dual impact of covid-19 and a significant advertiser boycott -- arising from complaints about hate speech on the platform -- on its ad-based business model.

And the earnings come as Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg -- and his peers at Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Report, Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report and Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report -- are under fire from Congress regarding their business practices.

In the second quarter and in the first three weeks of July, ad revenue grew 10% from a year earlier. Facebook said it expected a similar growth figure for full third-quarter ad revenue.

That figure is subject to a number of factors, including the pace of economic recovery; a potential easing of usage of the site as lockdowns are lifted; the potential impact of the boycott; and headwinds including regulation, like the California Consumer Privacy Act, Facebook said. 

Monthly active users were 2.7 billion at June 30, up 12% from a year earlier.

“[As] shelter-in-place restrictions continue to ease, we expect the number of Facebook daily active users and monthly active users to be flat or slightly down in most regions” in Q3 compared with Q2, Facebook said. 

Full-year 2020 capital expenditures should come in around $16 billion, the high end of the company’s estimate of $14 billion to $16 billion, “as we have resumed data-center- construction efforts earlier than expected," the company said. Facebook also said that outlook remains conditioned on how covid-19 affects its ability to build those projects.

And the company expects a full-year tax rate in the mid-teens percent. The rate was 16% in Q2.

Facebook shares are up 71% from their 52-week low of $137 - set in mid-March - through the close of the regular session Thursday.

Facebook is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus investment club.