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Meta Platforms’ earnings round-up: Share price plunged despite 1Q beat

Meta’s share price plunged as much as 16% in post-market trading, following the release of its 1Q 2024 results.

Buildings Source: Getty

Meta’s share price plunged post-results

Meta’s share price plunged as much as 16% in post-market trading, following the release of its 1Q 2024 results. If this is followed through in the US session, this will be the largest percentage drop for the company’s share price since October 2022 (-24.6%).

Meta’s results have a negative knock-on impact on the share prices of other big tech as well. Alphabet and Amazon are down close to 3% after-market, while Microsoft and Nvidia are down close to 2%.

Meta’s 1Q 2024 round-up Source: Refinitiv

Meta had a stellar 1Q, with a beat in both top and bottom-line. Revenue was 1% higher than consensus at $36.46 billion, up 27% year-on-year. This is the highest year-on-year (YoY) growth since 3Q 2021.

Earnings per share (EPS) has beaten expectations by 9.8%, coming in at $4.71 and up more than two-fold from the $2.20 a year ago. Net profit margin was above estimate too, coming in at 33.9% versus the 31.1% consensus.

Its other operating metrics have been encouraging as well. Average price per ad increased 6% YoY, ad impressions were up 20% YoY, while family daily active people (DAP) increased 7% YoY.

Lacklustre revenue guidance overshadows stellar 1Q 2024 performance

With the 40% run-up in its share price year-to-date, expectations are in place for the company to outperform on all fronts, leaving little room for error. It seems hard to find fault with the current set of results, but market participants were expecting more from Meta in terms of its forward sales outlook.

The company guided for 2Q 2024 total revenue to be in the range of $36.5-39 billion, with the midpoint of the revenue outlook ($37.8 billion) falling below the $38.3 billion market consensus. There may be some concerns as to whether we have already seen the peak in growth momentum, with year-on-year revenue growth to potentially fall to 18.1% in 2Q 2024 from the current 27.3%.

Huge cost increases put market participants off as well

Given the ongoing artificial intelligence (AI) race among the big tech, Meta has been under pressure to keep up on its AI capabilities in order to fend off competition as well. The company is anticipating a $5 billion cost increase from its AI infrastructure investments for 2024 and expects capital expenditures to continue to increase next year.

"We anticipate our full-year 2024 capital expenditures will be in the range of $35-40 billion, increased from our prior range of $30-37 billion."

This will be a new record high for the company’s capital expenditure, but there may be some reservations on whether the huge amount will pay off. Having invested heavily in the metaverse since the end of 2020, its metaverse-oriented Reality Labs division is still faced with growing losses ($3.85 billion operating loss in 1Q 2024). This may lead to questions on whether it will be another expensive long-term bet this time round.

Technical analysis: Meta’s share price unwind all of its past two months’ gains pre-market

Failure to meet the sky-high market expectations for its results has prompted a 16% plunge in its share price pre-market, effectively unwinding all of its gains over the past two months. As such, an attempt for its daily relative strength index (RSI) to revert back above its key 50 level has also failed to materialise, which may keep the trend on a downward bias in the near term. The hefty fall also marked a dip in share price below its daily Ichimoku Cloud support for the first time since October 2023.

There may be some expectations on whether the 16% plunge is overdone, given a stellar set of 1Q 2024 numbers, which may potentially catch the attention of some dip buyers. Buyers will have to face the arduous task of potentially pushing above the US$436.00 level (the lower band of the Ichimoku Cloud) to signal some control. Immediate support may be found at the key US$400.00 level, with any failure to hold the line potentially paving the way for a retest of the US$360.00 level next.

Meta Platforms Inc Source: IG charts

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