NEW YORK (TheStreet) --Facebook (FB) reported stronger than anticipated financial results for the 2016 third quarter after the market close on Wednesday.

The social media giant reported earnings of $1.09 per share on revenue of $7.01 billion. Analysts' were projecting earnings of 97 cents per share on revenue of $6.93 billion. Despite the top and bottom line beats, the company gave a cautious outlook for 2017.

The company expects ad revenue growth rates to decrease "meaningfully" and stated that 2017 would be an "aggressive" investment year, Facebook CFO David Wehner said on the conference call. 

"I think Facebook just gave you the green light to take a profit. If you have been long this stock for a while, and your time horizon is short, they just gave you permission," Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO Josh Brown said during Thursday's "Fast Money Halftime Report" on CNBC.

Brown noted two key takeaways from the company's results.

"Number one, 2017 will be a year of big investment for us, that's code for don't expect the same magnitude of earnings beats and earnings growth acceleration that we have shown you for the last couple of years," he said.

Secondly, he tackled the concern of slowing ad revenue growth.

"Facebook and Google (GOOGL) have this duopoly over online advertising. At a certain point, you can't grow at the same rate you have. They're talking about 1.7 billion users; there aren't another 1.7 [billion] waiting. So I think they gave you the green light to say I've done well, I've made money, now maybe I don't need to be long this at these levels," Brown explained.

Shares of Facebook were lower 5.54% to $12.12 in early afternoon trading on Thursday.

(Facebook is held in Jim Cramer's charitable trust Action Alerts PLUS. See all of his holding with a free trial here.)

Separately, TheStreet Ratings Team has a "Buy" rating with a score of A- on the stock.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins.

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: FB


More from Markets

Global Stocks Rally as US-China Trade War Thaws; Dow Could Test 25,000

Global Stocks Rally as US-China Trade War Thaws; Dow Could Test 25,000

Tesla Jumps on Model 3 Expansion Hopes, China Trade Truce

Tesla Jumps on Model 3 Expansion Hopes, China Trade Truce

Apple Gains as U.S. China Trade Tensions Ease After Weekend Summit

Apple Gains as U.S. China Trade Tensions Ease After Weekend Summit

Video: There Are Some Big Changes Coming to the PGA Championships in 2019

Video: There Are Some Big Changes Coming to the PGA Championships in 2019

Video: One-on-One With Pluralsight's CEO Following Its Successful IPO

Video: One-on-One With Pluralsight's CEO Following Its Successful IPO