Tech stocks suffer a big sell-off after earnings fail to impress Wall Street


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addresses students during a town hall at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi, India, November 12, 2018.

Anushree Fadnavis | Reuters

Shares of Twitter, Facebook, Apple and Amazon remained down in premarket trading Friday after the companies released quarterly reports that failed to wow Wall Street.

Here’s what’s going on.


Twitter stock plunged more than 16% after the company beat analysts’ expectations on profit and revenue, but failed to meet on user growth. Twitter grew its total monetizable daily active users by just 1 million people from last quarter to 187 million users, falling shy of analysts’ expectations of 195 million mDAUs for the third quarter.


Facebook, down more than 1% in the premarket, also spooked investors after the company reported a decrease in users in the U.S. and Canada. The company said that its American and Canadian user base fell to 196 million daily active users from 198 million a quarter earlier after some coronavirus lockdowns eased. Facebook said it expects its user base in the U.S. and Canada to remain flat or decrease in the fourth quarter.

“Globally, FB was benefiting from higher usage per day as global lock-downs substituted screen time for in-person social time,” Needham analysts wrote in a Friday note.


Apple shares also dropped more than 4%. The company slightly exceeded Wall Street expectations, but didn’t offer fourth-quarter guidance and reported a 20% year-over-year decline in iPhone sales. The iPhone decline was due to a delayed launch. New iPhone 12 sales weren’t included during the quarter. Wall Street is more focused on how the iPhone 12 will sell in the coming year, but some remained skeptical.

“The punchline is simple: iPhone revenues have to grow double digits YoY in FY Q1 YoY, or March needs to be dramatically stronger than seasonal for this cycle to have a shot of being the super cycle buyside investors appear to be anticipating,” Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi wrote in a note.


Amazon stock also dropped more than 1% in the premarket, after the company give a wide guidance range for the fourth quarter. Amazon said sales in the fourth quarter will be between $112 billion and $121 billion, about 28% to 38% growth from a year earlier. Analysts were expecting revenue of $112.3 billion. Still, the consensus on the Street was that the company will continue to grow.

“While we acknowledge the concerns around 4Q20 profitability as investments in the fulfillment network push into 4Q and COVID-19 costs remain elevated, we think these investments should lead to greater share
gains going forward as eCommerce adoption accelerates due to COVID-19,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note Friday.


Meanwhile, shares of Alphabet, which crushed expectations, jumped nearly 7% in the premarket. Its earnings showed a strong rebound in its core advertising business, which was hit hard by customer spending pullbacks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It follows similarly strong earnings reports by ad-driven online companies Pinterest and Snap earlier this month.

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