SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter booked a net loss in the first quarter because of stock compensation costs, but its results surpassed Wall Street's expectations thanks to a sharp increase in advertising revenue.
Investors were looking for stronger user growth from the short messaging service, however, and company's stock declined sharply in after-hours trading.
Twitter Inc. said Tuesday that it had a loss of $132.4 million, or 23 cents per share, in the January-March quarter. That compares with a loss of $27 million, or 21 cents per share, a year ago when Twitter was still privately held. Adjusted earnings were $183,000, or roughly breakeven on a per share basis.
Revenue more than doubled to $250 million from $114 million. Twitter's advertising revenue was $226 million, about 80 percent of which came from mobile advertising.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected an adjusted loss of 3 cents per share on revenue of $241.5 million. Twitter's own forecast in February was for revenue between $230 million and $240 million.
Shares of San Francisco-based Twitter fell $4.09, or 9.6 percent, to $38.53 in after-hours trading after the results came out. The stock had closed up $1.89, or 4.6 percent, at $42.62.
Twitter went public last November. It had set a price of $26 per share for its stock, which then soared amid hungry investor demand. The high-flying stock peaked in December at $74.73, then declined steeply.
Twitter had 255 million monthly users at the end of March, up 25 percent from a year ago. That's just what Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia was expecting.
Twitter has said that it is focusing on expanding its audience and encouraging people who do use its short messaging service to use it more often, but the company has not been growing its user base as fast as its investors would like.
"Timeline views," which measure how often users refresh their own or someone else's Twitter feed, increased 15 percent in the quarter to 157 billion. Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views, another closely watched measurement, reached $1.44 in the first quarter, more than double the figure from a year ago.
Twitter gave a conservative revenue forecast for the current quarter and for all of 2014. The company expects revenue of $270 million to $280 million for the April-June period, compared with analysts' expectations of $273.3 million.
For the full year, Twitter expects revenue of $1.2 to $1.25 billion, compared with analysts' forecast of $1.24 billion.