Meta shares rose 10 per cent after it reported better than expected sales guidance and a small uptick in revenues after three quarters of decline as chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s “year of efficiency” began to bear fruit.
Revenue in the first three months of the year was up 3 per cent from a year ago to $28.6bn, beating analysts’ expectations for a slight decline to $27.7bn. The company also forecast revenue in the current quarter of between $29.5bn and $32bn, above expectations for a rise to $29.46bn, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Net income in the first quarter fell 24 per cent to $5.7bn, while earnings per share dropped 19 per cent to $2.20, beating analysts’ estimates, as the company pours investment into deploying artificial intelligence to make its platform more engaging and its advertising more effective, as well as to streamline internal processes.
Meta, along with its Silicon Valley peers, has been pummelled by inflationary pressures and macroeconomic woes over the past year. However, rivals Google and Microsoft showed signs of resilience in earnings reports on Tuesday, dispelling fears of a deeper tech slowdown.
Meta, the parent of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has faced particular investor anxiety as advertiser spending has declined, amid Zuckerberg’s costly bet on the metaverse. The company previously announced a restructuring and bruising redundancies of around 20,000 staff.
Meta slightly adjusted the top end of its guidance for expenses in 2023, from a range of $86bn to $92bn previously, to $86bn to $90bn. Its capital expenditure guidance remained unchanged from the previous quarter — between $30bn and $33bn.
“We had a good quarter and our community continues to grow,” Zuckerberg said. “Our AI work is driving good results across our apps and business. We’re also becoming more efficient so we can build better products faster and put ourselves in a stronger position to deliver our long-term vision.”