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What Are Facebook Investors Eyeing For Third Quarter Earnings?

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Facebook (FB) reports third quarter earnings Wednesday and investors will be looking in particular at Instagram's progress, among other key factors. 

Facebook's user and revenue growth on its core Facebook platform has been decelerating, but Instagram has emerged as a new growth driver for the company. 

Analysts polled by FactSet are looking for revenue of $17.369 billion with total users across platforms moving to 1.612 billion. Earnings per share is expected to come in at an adjusted $2.11. 

"Investors are looking for good things as usual," said Nelson Wang, TheStreet's tech editor. "The expectation for revenue is for it to be up about 22% year-over-year, which is pretty impressive when you consider how big they already are." 

On the negative side, potential regulation from Congress continues to be a risk to the stock. "What's also going to be important for investors is any kind of color about challenges or opportunities coming from regulatory actions," Wang added, referencing last quarter's announcement that the company will put aside $5 billion to pay a fine from the FTC.

As for Instagram, "in recent quarters Instagram has really been seen as the golden child of Facebook's platform and that is also the case regarding its advertising revenue and ad products," said Annie Gaus, TheStreet's tech reporter. "There's been a lot of focus on stories in recent quarters, with the expectations a lot of growth is coming from there, so I think this time around investors will be looking for fresh updates on how Stories is doing and how it's appealing to advertisers."

The stock is up 40% year-to-date. 

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