CORRECTED - Snap's user growth, revenue beat analyst expectations, shares soar

Will Snap Have More Bad News When It Reports Earnings?

Snap stock soars on first ever better-than-expected earnings

Snap shares lifted 18 percent in after-hours trade to $16.62 following the fourth quarter update for the company known for its ephemeral smartphone messages and other online content.

It added 8.9 million daily active users to reach 187 million with a quarter-over-quarter growth rate of 5.05% percent in Q4, compared to 2.9 percent in Q3.

Snap generated some $285.69 million in revenue during the quarter ending December 31, compared to $165.68 million during the same quarter a year before. And when it came to operating expenses, Snap lost $350 million compared to the $440 million they lost last quarter.

Snap shares have tumbled since a keenly anticipated public offering in March 2017 at $24, on concerns that it may not be able to keep pace with rivals like Facebook in the fast-evolving world of social media. Deutsche Bank reissued a "hold" rating and set a $13.00 price objective on shares of Snap in a research report on Monday, January 22nd.

Snap shares soared by about 20 percent Tuesday on the strength of its unexpectedly upbeat quarterly report.

Analysts had expected losses of $409 million, and revenue of around $253 million.

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"Our business really came together towards the end of previous year", said Evan Spiegel, Snap's CEO, in a statement. But the company's bet on Spectacles has been expensive, costing the company $40 million last quarter for "excess inventory". That sounds solid, but remember: Before the IPO, many close to the company expected Snap to be a $1 billion revenue business in 2017.

That re-design, separating friends from brands, was launched in late November, but has yet to roll out to all users.

More recently, Snap released a new in-app merchandise store as it continues its experiments to see what users are willing to pay for.

The biggest issue for Snap is its competition with Facebook's Instagram, says eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

If you want to know how a company like Snap can lose nearly $3.5 billion in a year, look no further than stock rewards to engineers. The fourth quarter was an "important quarter for Snap as investor confidence in the company's growth story has waned".

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