Snap Shares Lose Focus Following Disappointing Q1 Earnings Report

Snap Inc

Snapchat owner Snap Inc is paying the price this morning for the disappointing numbers it served up last night in its first quarterly earnings report as a public company.

Stock prices in the camera-focused company are down more than 20% in early trading to about $18 a share, just $1 above the IPO price in March. It touched $17.59, a new low in its short history on the New York Stock Exchange.

Investors were most startled by the decline in the average revenue per user: It came in at 90 cents in Q1, down 14% from Q4 when it was 1.05.

Revenues, at $149.6 million, also fell short of the consensus forecast for $158 million.

“Some had thought Snap’s initial quarters of monetization would follow more of a benign path given the potential for marketers to put experimental ad budgets to work on an app with a heavily engaged millennial user base,” Nomura/Instinet’s Anthony DiClemente says. Instead the growth “decelerated substantially.”

What’s more, the improvement in daily active users (DAUs) — to 166 million in Q1 from 158 million in Q4 — was “not strong enough to disprove the ‘Facebook is crushing Snapchat’ thesis,” says Barclays’ Ross Sandler.

RBC Capital Markets’ Mark Mahaney remains bullish, saying it’s “way too early” to change estimate about Snap’s prospects.

Snap is “already larger in terms of DAUs” than Twitter, he says. The company also is “growing dramatically faster” and “has recently demonstrated much greater innovation.”

In a conference call with analysts, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel shrugged off the potential threat from Facebook. Its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently seemed to have Snap in his sights when he said that it considers the smartphone camera “more central than the text box in all of our apps.”

“When Google came along, everyone really felt like they needed a search strategy,” Spiegel says. “When Facebook came along, everyone felt they needed a social strategy. And now I think with Snap, with our company, we believe that everyone is going to develop a camera strategy. Because I think we really help people understand how valuable the camera is, because it’s really the center of everything that we do. And I think, at the end of the day, just because Yahoo, for example, has a search box, it doesn’t mean they are Google.”

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