Snap Shares Soar to Record High On Surprise Q3 Profit, User Growth

A July Facebook boycott by key advertisers, as well as surging user growth, helped Snap top Q3 revenue forecasts and post a surprise adjusted profit.
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Snap Inc.  (SNAP) - Get Report shares soared to an all-time high Wednesday after the instant messaging app maker posted a surprise third quarter profit on surging user and revenue growth. 

Snap said daily active users on its Snapchat platform, a hugely influential social media tool for teenage and young adult users, rose 18% from the same period last year to 249 million over the third quarter. Snap's revenue, meanwhile, got a boost from the July boycott of Facebook FB by key advertizers and rose 52% to a Street-beating $678.7 million.

On an adjusted basis, the group also nudged itself into a third quarter profit of a penny a share, compared to a 4 cents per share loss last year and the Street consensus forecast of a loss of 5 cents per share.

"We now reach more than 100 million people in the US alone, and are also seeing strong growth in our core markets in North America, Europe and Australia," said co-founder Evan Spiegel during a conference call with investors late Tuesday evening. "We are also continuing to invest in app performance and localization to make our service more accessible to people all over the world, with Snapchat now available to over 2 billion people in their native language."

"These efforts have helped us grow even faster in emerging markets like India, where we've seen over 100% growth in daily active users over the past year," he added.

Snap shares were marked 35.6% higher in mid-day trading Wednesday to change hands at $38.54 each an all-time high that would extend the stock's year-to-date gain to around 120% and value the Santa Monica, California-based tech group at just over $56.6 billion. 

Snap shares first traded on the Nasdaq on March 2, 2017 at $25 a share after its IPO launch at $17 each. The stock then tumbled to under $5 a share in December amid uneven attempts by Spiegel to simultaneously boost the signature messaging app's appeal to older users while maintaining its zeitgeist among celebrity endorsers.

"Snap benefited from July's Facebook boycott, yielding a record number of new advertisers, resulting in revenue growth not seen since FY17," said Oppenheimer analyst Jason Helfstein, who carries and outperform rating with a boosted $40 price target on the stock.

"Daily Average user trajectory continues impressive pace with net adds 6 million above guidance and very strong engagement metrics (particularly on premium content," he added. "SNAP is very well positioned to leverage AR shopping given its user demographic and leading technology."