Why Meta Platforms stock was down more than 20% today

Wall Street and the Facebook owner are not on the same page about how to navigate this economy.

| More on:
A man sits in despair at his computer with his hands either side of his head, staring into the screen with a pained and anguished look on his face, in a home office setting.

Image source: Getty Images

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

What happened

Shares of Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) were trading down 22% at 11:35 a.m. on Thursday after the company delivered third-quarter financial results. The social media giant beat the Street's revenue estimates but missed on earnings. 

Based on analysts' comments following the earnings report, the problem is not so much the weak numbers as management's plan to continue aggressively investing in growth initiatives, such as the metaverse, instead of firming up the bottom line.

So what

After posting a 1% year-over-year increase in revenue last quarter, Meta saw revenue decline 4% this quarter. Wall Street is looking at the slowing economy and advertising market, which is what social media companies use to make money, and not seeing much growth over the next year. That's why the stock is down 70% this year, in a nutshell.

The stock would probably be holding up much better if management were prioritizing profits over investments in artificial intelligence and the metaverse. But that's not the way CEO Mark Zuckerberg runs the company, and a long-term investor shouldn't want it any other way.

Instead of pulling back, the company said it would spend up to $33 billion in capital expenditures next year, which is roughly the same as previous guidance. Wall Street didn't want to hear that, especially after earnings per share (EPS) fell 49% year over year in the quarter.

Now what

On the earnings call, Zuckerberg mentioned that engagement trends have been positive across the family of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp. He also noted the company can still "meaningfully" grow operating income over the long term, while still making investments in AI and Reality Labs (e.g., the metaverse and virtual reality).  

The stock was already cheap on a price-to-earnings basis going into earnings, and now it's 22% cheaper. What's certain is that with over 3 billion monthly active people across the family of apps, Meta is not a worthless company. Revenue growth will pick up in a healthier economy, when advertisers will feel more comfortable opening up their wallets.

This article was originally published on Fool.com. All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

John Ballard has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

More on International Stock News

Blue electric vehicle on a green rising arrow with a charger hanging out.
International Stock News

Tesla share price jumps 13% as Elon throws a Hail Mary

Profits almost halved and investors are scrambling to buy shares. Make it make sense.

Read more »

A young woman sits on her lounge looking pleasantly surprised at what she's seeing on her laptop screen as she reads about the South32 share price
International Stock News

2 US artificial intelligence (AI) stocks that could beat Nvidia in the coming decades

These two companies are on track to benefit from the adoption of AI in big industries.

Read more »

A man looking at his laptop and thinking.
International Stock News

Is it too late to buy Nvidia stock?

Nvidia stock has soared over 220% in the last year, but now could still be as good a time as…

Read more »

A woman holds a soldering tool as she sits in front of a computer screen while working on the manufacturing of technology equipment in a laboratory environment.
International Stock News

Up nearly 80% this year, does Nvidia stock have room for more?

Nvidia's stock added a lot of its gains the day after Q4 earnings.

Read more »

Piggy bank on an electric charger.
International Stock News

If you'd invested $1,000 in Tesla stock 5 years ago, here's how much you'd have today

Tesla bears may not have noticed it, but Tesla profits are forecast to 3x over the next five years.

Read more »

Businessman using a digital tablet with a graphical chart, symbolising the stock market.
International Stock News

Bull vs. bear: Can the S&P 500 keep rising in 2024?

We review the bull and bear case for the S&P 500 this year.

Read more »

woman with coffee on phone with Tesla
International Stock News

Why Tesla stock put pedal to metal today

Tesla's robotaxi is coming in August.

Read more »

A male investor sits at his desk looking at his laptop screen holding his hand to his chin pondering whether to buy Macquarie shares
International Stock News

If you invested $10,000 in Nvidia stock the day ChatGPT came out, this is how much you'd have today

Buying Nvidia when the disruptive AI chatbot launched would have been a smart move.

Read more »