Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) may have surprised to the positive in terms of earnings last night in its first earnings report, but investors weren’t impressed. Shares fell nearly 25% today after last night’s report, eliminating nearly $10 billion of the company’s market value as investors sold on concerns about the slow user growth reflected in Twitter’s report.
While today’s sell-off shows how unhappy investors are with Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s earnings report, analysts are actually split on the topic. According to Reuters, analysts characterize it as one of two extremes: either an up and coming sensation with an undervalued stock price or an overvalued company which is only offering a niche products with fading potential.
Twitter fights an uphill battle for growth
Speaking on Bloomberg TV, Sarat Sethi, managing director at Douglas C. Lane, said he doesn’t see how Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is going to expand beyond the 140 characters it limits users to. He sees the short posts limiting what users can do with it, and he doesn’t see where Twitter will get new usage and growth.
Indeed, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s report last night shows why investors seem to be thinking along the same lines. The micro-blogging site reported its first decline in timeline views per monthly average user, posting a 3% decrease year over year and a 10% decrease from the previous quarter. Twitter did report a 30% year over year increase in average monthly active users, bringing that metric to 241 million, but analysts had been predicting 249.1 million. Timeline views didn’t rise as much as expected either, rising to 148 billion.
According to Fox Business, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) also received several downgrades from a number of firms, including Sterne Agee, which moved its rating to Underperform, and Stifel Nicolaus, which moved its rating to Hold. UBS downgraded Twitter to Hold.
Analysts disagree about Twitter
A few firms, however, actually raised their target prices for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). Deutsche Bank analysts continue to see the potential in the company, and the bank was one of six or more firms which either upgraded the company’s stock or increased their target prices. Deutsche Bank analysts were particularly impressed by Twitter’s improvement in monetization, as the company reported earning $1.49 per thousand timeline views, which is a 76% year over year increase. They believe slowing user growth will turn around this year and head up to 1 billion users The firm maintained its Buy rating and increased its price target to $65 per share.
Goldman Sachs analysts also increased their price target for Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), raising it to $69 per share and maintaining their Buy rating on the stock.