But what’s crazier to me is how such a drop happened. Facebook’s earnings were generally fine. A little light perhaps, but fine. It wasn’t until the company started talking during the earnings call that the run occurred. (There seems to be a clear trend of something bad happening every single time the company opens its collective mouth in some capacity.) And mostly it seemed to be about the guidance that the CFO gave, and the way in which he gave it.
A few other factoids earlier in the call primed that sell off.
Facebook’s first quarter numbers were not-quite-right. They were hiding a decline, specifically a decline in active hours on the site, which just happens to be the thing the company has monetized, as Lou Kerner pointed out in January, again in April, and then yesterday. Incidentally, in addition to the decline in hours on site, the Facebook quarterly conference call also spooked investors by providing new data. In his introduction, Mark Zuckerberg told the audience that the company included users of all of their other platforms, such as Whatsapp and Instagram, for the first time. He said they did it because it better reflects the number of people using their products. That could be true. But introducing new data is a bluffer’s tell. Savvy analysts ask, “Why are you giving me this info now?” and with Zuckerberg’s low credibility after months of dodging scandals, the savvy analyst is probably looking for what he might hide with those numbers rather than what the numbers might show. That is how the quarterly conference call started.
By the time they got to the CFO’s predictions, listeners had enough. They sold.
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