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Twitter Inc Views Split Ahead Of Earnings

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Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is scheduled to release its second earnings report as a public company tonight. The micro-blogging company disappointed the last time around, sending shares into a nosedive. This time it looks like investors expect things to be different.

Twitter needs user growth

Investors’ big problem with Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s last report wasn’t earnings or revenue, as both beat analyst estimates. They were more concerned about user growth, which slowed down significantly in the quarter. This time around, analysts generally expect Twitter to beat its own guidance range of $230 million to $240 million in revenue. They’re looking for $241.5 million in revenue and losses of 3 cents per share.

Analyst estimates on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s user count for the March quarter range from 253 million up to 262 million, according to a report on Minyanville. Using estimates from six firms, the consensus estimate ends up being about 255 million, which would imply 25% year over year growth and 5.8% sequential growth. If Twitter can beat or even meet that estimate, investors may become more confident in its growth potential.

Analysts still wary on Twitter

At Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR)’s initial public offering, most analysts were quite bullish on it, but many scaled back their views when the stock soared past where fundamentals should take it. Analysts are now more cautious on the company, even though its stock has declined 37% since its last earnings report in February. Seven analysts have a Buy rating on Twitter, while 14 have a Hold rating and 13 have Sell ratings.

What analysts want to know before they become more positive on Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is whether the micro-blogging company will be able to transform itself into more of a mainstream social network. Its peer Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) doesn’t have any Sell ratings, according to Reuters. Also the comparisons between Twitter and Facebook continue.

When Facebook was where Twitter is

Analyst Daniel Ernst of Hudson Square notes that when Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was the size Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is now, it had an operating margin of 35%. However, Twitter’s running at a -10% operating margin. He believes the company is an “inefficiently structured operation addressing a narrow audience.”

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has since introduced new profiles which look a lot like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s profiles in an effort to target the mainstream social networking market.

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