Facebook Inc.’s (FB) shares dipped sharply by nearly 9 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday night, from $127.95 to a low of $116.60, following forecasts in the Menlo Park, California-based company’s third-quarter earnings release that advertising revenue growth rates would soon plummet.
Shares of Facebook closed at $119.95 after closing at $127.17. The drop in share price was the sharpest Facebook’s stock has seen since February.
“Over the past two years we have averaged about 50 percent compound revenue growth in advertising,” chief financial officer Dave Whener said in a conference call, adding that ad load has been a major factor in Facebook’s robust advertising revenues. “With a much smaller contribution from this important factor going forward, we expect to see ad revenue growth rates come down meaningfully.”
The social networking giant saw ad revenue growth of 59 percent in the third quarter, however, according to chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, mostly due to growth in mobile usage.
Despite the share price plunge, some analysts distanced themselves from fears that Facebook’s value was likely to tank.
“To be clear, they told us that the ad load would not be a significant component of revenue growth, and starting in mid-2017,” Axiom Capital Management Director Victor Anthony told CNBC, adding that significant drops in Facebook share price like today’s have happened several times in the past couple of years. “I’m not too concerned—I think the pullback is really a gift for investors who’ve been on the sidelines.”
And Anthony wasn’t alone. As Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Shyam Patil told Reuters, the price drop was a result of pure hype.
“Clearly the market is spooked by FB’s 2017 commentary, and there was nothing new and certainly not anything that the market didn’t eventually expect to hear,” Patil said, according to the news wire.