More Than a Beat: What Facebook Earnings Are Telling Investors

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Facebook (FB) - Get Report beat expectations for its quarterly earnings and revenue, but it was all that management said that provides support for the higher estimates analysts are giving Facebook's future. 

Here are three things to know about Facebook right now. 

Revenue Side

'Stories' ads and Instagram monetization continue to be a key driver of growth for Facebook. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg mentioned on the earnings call, "We think the shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us and advertisers over time." While Facebook is expecting a revenue slow down in the second half of 2019, it may be Instagram that acts as the savior, as the platform is in the early stages of monetization. Instagram monetization was mentioned roughly 20 times on the earnings call. 

Cost Side

As Facebook invests in new employees and better privacy features, and revenue growth isn't expected to accelerate soon, the company wants to keep costs under control. Fortunately for investors, management maintained its operating expense guidance for 2019 of 37% to 45% growth. 

The Stock

The stock was rising 1.69% to $208.12 a share Thursday. The average analyst price target is about $229, representing about 10% upside. With some regulation risk, investors should be careful of the risk-reward scenario. 

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