Facebook Surges on First-Quarter Earnings Beat

Facebook posted better-than-expected results thanks to strong gains in advertising revenue.
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Facebook  (FB) - Get Report was climbing Wednesday after surging ad revenue helped the social media giant beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations.

Shares of the Menlo Park, California-based company rose 5% to $322.46 in after-hours trading. Facebook shares are up 18.7% year-to-date, compared to the S&P 500's rise of 11.4% over the same time period.

Facebook reported net income of $9.50 billion, or $3.30 per share, compared with $4.9 billion, or $1.71 per share, a year ago. Revenue totaled $26.17 billion, up 25% from a year ago.

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Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting the company to report net income of $2.34 per share, on sales of $23.7 billion.

Advertising revenue totaled $25.44 billion, with growth driven by a 30% year-over-year increase in the average price per ad and a 12% increase in the number of ads delivered, the company said.

"We had a strong quarter as we helped people stay connected and businesses grow," Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in a statement. "We will continue to invest aggressively to deliver new and meaningful experiences for years to come, including in newer areas like augmented and virtual reality, commerce, and the creator economy."

Facebook reported daily active users (DAUs) of 1.88 billion for March, up 8% year-over year. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast 1.89 billion DAUs.

Monthly active users (MAUs) totaled 2.85 billion as of March 31, up 10% from a year ago, while FactSet had called for 2.86 billion MAUs.

Average revenue per user in the first quarter was $9.27 compared with the FactSet forecast of $8.40.

Facebook said it expects its 2021 capital expenditures to be in the range of $19 billion to $21 billion, down from an earlier estimate of $21 billion to $23 billion.

The company's headcount was 60,654 as of March 31, up 26% year-over-year.

Facebook posted its results one day after Google parent Alphabet  (GOOG) - Get Report beat Wall Street's first-quarter earnings expectations by a wide margin. Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report was also reporting earnings on Wednesday (Check out TheStreet’s live blog of Apple’s earnings). 

In January, Facebook easily beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations.

Earlier in the year, Facebook said it was referring its decision to indefinitely suspend former President Donald Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts to its independent oversight board following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

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