After the closing bell on Wednesday, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $1.91 billion, according to analysts polled by Reuters. During the same period a year ago, the company posted a loss of 2 cents a share on revenue of $1.26 billion.
“Everybody wants to see their mobile ad growth start to accelerate,” said Mark Newton, chief technical analyst at Greywolf Execution Partners. “Given that their stock has doubled from July when they had second-quarter earnings, they have a lot on the line in terms of trying to deliver at the very top end of their forecast to make sure the stock can continue to move. That’s been one of the biggest gainers in the last three months, so big expectations out of Facebook.”
In July, Facebook posted second-quarter earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street estimates. The social networking giant said earnings for the period ended in June 2013 came in at $333 million on revenue of $1.8 billion, compared to a loss of $157 million a year ago on revenue of $1.18 billion a year earlier. Excluding items, earnings came in at 19 cents per share, versus estimates of 14 cents per share on revenue of $1.62 billion, according to Reuters.
Shares of the Internet company soared 25 percent to more than $33 per share the morning following the stronger-than-expected results, and since then, shares have nearly doubled.
Facebook's stock hit an all-time low of $17.55 on Sept. 4, 2012. After the social networking company issued second-quarter earnings on July 24, a week later Facebook climbed above its $38 initial public offering (IPO) price to close at $38.05 on Aug. 2, its highest price since the end of its first day of trading in May 2012, when it closed at $38.23.
On Wednesday, shares of Facebook edged down 0.82 percent to $48.99 in afternoon trading ahead of the company’s earnings announcement.
“Advertising is extremely important to a lot of these social media companies,” said Newton. “So you want to try to beat really across the board with regards to that and make sure that, particularly as a stock runs up dramatically ahead of these announcements, that you don’t just barely meet or not exceed expectations, because that would cause pullbacks likely in the stock.”
The company said its second-quarter earnings statement that Facebook has surpassed 1 million active advertisers, driven by significant growth in local businesses. In addition, the number of people using the site on a mobile phones or tablets increased year-over-year by 51 percent to 819 million, and mobile advertising sales accounted for nearly 41 percent of Facebook's total ad revenue.
“We've made good progress growing our community, deepening engagement and delivering strong financial results, especially on mobile," said Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the company’s second-quarter earnings statement. "The work we've done to make mobile the best Facebook experience is showing good results and provides us with a solid foundation for the future.”
Facebook will host a conference call with shareholders at 5:00 p.m. Eastern to discuss the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings results.
Also after the bell on Wednesday, notable companies reporting quarterly earnings include the Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL), Expedia Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPE), Marriott International Inc. (NYSE:MAR), Kraft Foods Group Inc. (NASDAQ:KRFT), MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET), Skyworks Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:SWKS), Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR).