Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) released its second earnings report as a public company last night, and investors were once again disappointed. That report has triggered at least two price target cuts. Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald have lowered their price target for the company’s stock from $45 to $40 per share— although they maintained their Hold rating on it—while UBS analysts reduced their price target from $42 to $35 per share, maintaining their Sell rating as well.
Twitter’s financial results look impressive
For the first quarter Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) posted a 119.1% year over year increase in total revenue, which went to $250.5 million. EBITDA was $37 million, representing a 14.8% margin. Both beat consensus estimates of $241.5 million in revenue and EBITDA of $18.9 million. Non-GAAP earnings per share were flat, which again beat Wall Street estimates of 3 cents per share in losses.
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Advertising revenue made up $90.4% of total revenue and rose 125.5% year over year to $226.5 million, again beating consensus estimates of $220.7 million. Mobile made up about 80% of total ad revenue and is still best in the social networking industry. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s mobile revenue
Twitter’s user metrics still weak
In a report dated April 29, 2014, Cantor Fitzgerald analysts Youssef Squali, Naved Khan and Kip Paulson note that once again, Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) disappointed on user metrics, even though the company’s profit and loss results actually beat consensus. In a report dated the same day, UBS analysts Eric Sheridan, Vishal Patel and Timothy Chiodo made the same observation.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) reported a 25% increase in monthly active users to 255 million, which is another deceleration from the previous quarter’s 30.3% growth and the quarter before that, which was 44% growth. Consensus estimates indicated that analysts wanted to see 257 million monthly active users. The Cantor Fitzgerald team sees active user growth as being the most important metric because the company wants to grow globally and also because its main competitor Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has about 1.3 billion users.
Total timeline views also slowed down to 15.2% growth year over year, coming in at 157 billion views. In the previous quarter, the metric grew 26%, and in the quarter before that, it grew 49%. Analysts wanted to see 165 billion views.
Twitter lockup expiration also a concern
Another concern analysts from both firms mention is the upcoming lockup expiration for hundreds of millions of Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) shares owned by insiders. Some 454.3 million shares will become available for trading on May 6, which is about 84% of outstanding shares. Many insiders and major shareholders of the company have assured investors that they won’t sell in an attempt to reduce the overhang from that lockup expiration. However, the risk for shares to fall even further when those shares are unlocked remains for now.