Twitter posted $61 million in Gaap net income, marking its second consecutive profitable quarter. The number of people using the service daily grew 10%, the sixth consecutive quarter that daily average users (DAUs) has shown a double-digit percentage gain. Still, shares declined 2.36% to $29.75 on Wednesday, after initially spiking upwards after the results were released. But shares rose about 2% in after-hours trading.
While Twitter is in the black and showing improved daily usage, its base of total monthly average users, or MAUs, have grown slowly. The concerns about the way that Facebook (FB) - Get Report and Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Reportprofit from consumer data may cast a shadow on Twitter, though CEO Jack Dorsey told investors Wednesday that Twitter does not sell private data.
"There are a lot of positive elements in the report," Argus Research Co. analyst Jim Kelleher said.
"[The market reaction] is probably because MAU growth was tepid," Kelleher added, as monthly average users increased just slightly from 330 million to 336 million.
Shares opened higher on Wednesday following the report, which GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives described as "a breath of fresh air for investors that have patiently awaited" following "years of pain," in a report.
"The combination of consecutive quarters of accelerating DAU growth, improving advertiser feedback/demand, and consistent GAAP profitability are all clear positives which should gain further steam after this Q1 earnings blow-out report," Ives suggested.
Twitter CFO Ned Segal may have dampened expectations when he told investors that revenue growth rates will look more like 2016 than 2017.
"As we talked about in February, we continue to believe that our sequential growth rates for total revenue for the remainder of 2018 will resemble those from 2016 more than they will those from last year," Segal said during the earnings call.
While Twitter showed quarter-to-quarter improvement during 2016, it was at a slower rate than last year. In the second, third and fourth quarters of 2016, Twitter revenues increased 1.25%, 2.3% and 16.4% sequentially, respectively. By contrast in 2017, sales increased by 4.7%, 2.75% and 24.1% sequentially in those three quarters.
Then there are the questions about data privacy that have engulfed Facebook and Google.
"There is a cloud over the whole social media place," Argus analyst Kelleher said, adding that investors are concerned that companies have been "out of control and fast and loose with data."
While Dorsey did not mention Facebook or Google specifically on the company's earnings call, he tried to differentiate what Twitter does.
"In particular, we are not a social network and we do not benefit from the same social graph that social networks do," he said, calling privacy a "fundamental right."
Twitter does not provide any "personal identifiable information" that is not already publicly available on its feeds, he added. "We are different from our peers in that Twitter is public and we serve the public conversation, so all of our data is out in the public, out in the open, and our data business just organizes that public data in real-time to make it easier for brands, researchers, and organizations to utilize it," he said.d
"So we feel really good around the data business, especially with all the conversations going on, and we will continue to hold ourselves publicly accountable to make sure that we fulfill that fundamental right of privacy," Dorsey said.
Twitter's use of data may be less problematic than Facebook's and Google's, which should give investors some comfort. Following Wednesday's rough trading session, the markets apparently do not yet "feel really good" about the business as a whole, to borrow Dorsey's phrase.