Meta Platforms, the parent company overseeing social media giants Facebook and Instagram, announced robust financial performance for the December quarter, marked by strong ad sales and the issuance of its inaugural dividend.
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Impressive Financial Figures
In the fourth quarter ending December 31, Meta Platforms experienced a notable 25% surge in revenue, reaching $40.1 billion. This exceeded analysts’ predictions of $39.2 billion, according to data from LSEG.
The company’s earnings per share witnessed a remarkable increase of over 200%, reaching $14 billion or $5.33 per share, surpassing estimates of $4.97 per share, as reported by LSEG.
Dividend Declaration and Share Repurchases
In anticipation of Facebook’s 20th anniversary, Meta Platforms declared a dividend of 50 cents per share. Simultaneously, the company authorized an additional $50 billion in share repurchases.
Market Response and Stock Performance of Meta Platforms
Following the positive financial report, Meta Platforms’ stock price soared by more than 14%, extending a robust recovery phase. The company achieved record highs for the first time in over two years, resulting in a stock market valuation surge of over $140 billion. This increase alone surpassed the entire value of smaller social media competitor Snap Inc.
Future Outlook and Projections
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasized the company’s progress in advancing AI and the metaverse, expressing confidence in the future. The company anticipates first-quarter revenue to range between $34.5 billion and $37 billion, surpassing Wall Street expectations of $33.8 billion. Full-year 2024 total expenses are projected to remain between $94 billion and $99 billion.
Reality Labs Performance and Future Investments
The metaverse-focused Reality Labs division reported record sales of $1.1 billion for the fourth quarter, exceeding estimates. The strong performance was attributed to robust holiday season sales of the Quest device. Despite exceeding expectations, Meta anticipates increased operating losses for Reality Labs in 2024 as the company intensifies investments in augmented and virtual reality.
Ongoing Recovery and Positive Trends
Meta Platforms continues to recover steadily from the 2022 meltdown, which wiped out more than three-quarters of its one-time value. The resurgence is fueled by a rebound in user growth and digital ad sales, positioning Meta for a promising future.