Ad revenue drives Facebook earnings, Apple eyes its ′undervalued′ shares | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.04.2014
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Ad revenue drives Facebook earnings, Apple eyes its 'undervalued' shares

Facebook has posted a 72-percent year-on-year rise in first-quarter revenue, driven by mobile advertising revenue. Apple's figures were less remarkable, but the company has announced some major plans for its shares.

Social networking company Facebook logged an 82-percent increase in advertising revenue to push its profits up to $642 million (465 million euros) in the first quarter, compared to $219 million a year ago.

Revenue of $2.5 billion and adjusted earnings of 34 cents per share both outstripped analysts' expectations.

Mobile advertising revenue was one of the driving factors, as Facebook logged more and more daily users accessing the platform via smartphones or similar devices. Of Facebook's estimated 802 million daily active users, 609 million would access the site on a mobile device.

"Facebook's business is strong and growing, and this quarter was a great start to 2014," chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said, then commenting on his company's $19-billion acquisition of instant messaging service WhatsApp during the quarter. "We've made some long-term bets on the future while staying focused on executing and improving our core products and business. We're in a great position to continue making progress towards our mission."

Solid Apple numbers, grand share plans

Apple on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit of $10.2 billion from $45.6 billion in revenue, also outstripping analysts' predictions. Chief executive Tim Cook also hinted, again, at new Apple products for 2014, without divulging details.

"We're eagerly looking forward to introducing more new products and services that only Apple could bring to the market," Cook said.

What prompted a swift spike in Apple share prices in after-hours trade was not above-expected sales of iPhones (43.7 million units), but rather two major announcements concerning Apple stocks.

Cook and Apple said on Wednesday that the company would spend an extra $30 billion repurchasing its own shares from investors, upping the total value of shares it plans to reclaim by the end of the year to $130 billion. Cook said the company was "confident in Apple's future" and saw "tremendous value" in the stock.

Vocal investor Carl Icahn, who had urged the company to boost its buyback program, voiced his approval in a pair of messages on Twitter, referring to the shares with Apple's official ticker symbol on the NASDAQ stock exchange, AAPL.

Secondly, Apple authorized plans for a rarely-seen seven-for-one stock split - a move to multiply the total number of shares in existence by seven while dividing their value by seven. Under such a deal, a hypothetical shareholder with one share in a company worth $70 would instead have seven worth $10 after the stock split. Less drastic stock splits, two-for-one or four-for-three, for instance, are more common.

With individual Apple shares currently trading at just over $550 dollars - below the company's 2012 peaks of around $700 but also almost three times the prices fetched early in 2010 - Cook said he wanted to make the stock "accessible to a larger number of investors" by diluting the unit price seven-fold.

msh/lw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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