Twitter Shares Drop 10% On Q4 Dip In Users And Wan 2019 Guidance

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Despite reporting better-than-expected profit and revenue in the fourth quarter, Twitter disclosed a decline in monthly active users, which has driven shares down 10% in early trading.

Shares were at $30.71 nearly two hours into the session, on above-average volume. They remain above their 52-week low of $26.19, and had come into today up about 7% this year to date.

Twitter’s user count slumped to 321 million from 330 million in the same quarter a year ago. Executives said the downturn was due to initiatives to prioritize the well-being of the community on the platform, as opposed to just racking up more users.

The company said its report today of monthly active users would be its last, with a switch planned to “monetizable daily active users,” or MDAUs, in future disclosures. The conventional user tally has fallen short of expectations in recent quarters. Last summer, the company’s stock took a hit after it deleted tens of millions of accounts upon determining they were fake or run by bots.

Total revenue of $909 million was about $40 million higher than the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. Adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents exceeded estimates by six cents.

After Facebook and Snap Inc. reported strong quarterly results over the past week, investors were hoping for a trifecta after Twitter disclosed its numbers. The quarterly report, though, offered several reasons for caution in addition to the user trends. Twitter also is forecasting a 20% increase in operating expenses in 2019. The higher costs will enable the company to boost its efforts across “health, conversation, revenue product and sales, and platform,” according to the earnings release.

Total revenue in the first quarter should land between $715 million and $775 million, the company said, a range that was below many analysts’ projections.

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