Facebook earnings preview: Mobile in focus

 
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Facebook earnings preview: Mobile in focus
Investors are focusing on signs that Facebook can keep growing advertising revenue, especially on mobile devices, when the world's largest social media company reports second-quarter results on Wednesday after the stock market closes.
What to watch for
Facebook's transition to mobile had plagued the company in the months leading up to and shortly after its May 2012 initial public stock offering. But analysts are now optimistic about Facebook's mobile prospects.

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali thinks mobile growth "should continue unabated," accounting for about 34 percent of total advertising revenue in the second quarter, up from 30 percent in the first. But he warned that a weaker ad market in Europe could hurt Facebook's international revenue.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia also sees promise in video ads for Facebook, though the company has not started offering those yet. Facebook recently added a video service to its photo-sharing app Instagram, a "first step" before video ads, Bhatia said.

Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter is also betting on video ads coming soon to Instagram.

"We believe many Internet and mobile device users have become accustomed to seeing ads before, during, or after accessing video content," he wrote in a note to investors.

Why it matters
Facebook is the world's No. 1 social media company, with more than 1.1 billion users. Its results can help assess the health of the overall online and mobile advertising environment.

What's expected
Analysts, on average, are expecting earnings of 14 cents per share on revenue of $1.62 billion, according to a poll by FactSet. Facebook has not provided earnings or revenue guidance for the quarter.

Last year's quarter
In its first quarter reporting as a public company, Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook posted a loss of $157 million, or 8 cents per share, on revenue of $1.18 billion.

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