Facebook Revenues Beats, Shares Hike

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) reported adjusted fourth-quarter earnings and revenue on Wednesday that crushed expectations, as it made more money than expected from each user.

The company's shares, which initially dropped sharply in after-hours trading, recovered after CFO David Wehner maintained the company's 2018 expense forecast and said Facebook would benefit from a weaker dollar in the first half of the year.

Earnings per Share came in at $2.21 vs. a projected $1.95, and compared to earnings of $1.41 per share on revenue of $8.81 billion in the year-ago period. Usership also rose about 14% from a year ago on both a daily and monthly basis.

Revenues were $12.97 billion vs. a projected $12.55 billion.

The company said it had made changes, including a crackdown on viral videos that reduced the amount of time users spent on its social network by 50 million hours a day in the quarter, or 5%.

Shares at first fell as much as 4.5% after hours, but recovered after executives said that advertising prices increased, balancing out audience declines, and that they expected operating expenses guidance wouldn't change, remaining at growth of 45% to 60%.

Facebook's fourth quarter marks the close of 2017's fiscal year, one of the company's more difficult years as a public company — and it showed in parts of the company's earnings report.

Said CEO Mark Zuckerberg, "Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent. In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day.”

FB shares gained $1.82, or 1%, to $188.71 early Thursday.