Wednesday 3 May 2017

Facebook Closes In On Two Billion Users


Facebook is on the verge of reaching 2bn members, with the social media giant closing in on a milestone that will move it into a select group of global companies.

The company is expected to report a blockbuster set of results this week, with revenues rising 45pc. It is expect to report that the number of people that log in every month will have risen to 1.9bn in the three months to the end of April, with the social network now set to close in on 2bn in the coming weeks. Only a handful of multinationals around the world, including Unilever and Procter & Gamble, can boast more customers.

Facebook has defied many expectations in recent years by continuing to find new users despite its size, with growth actually accelerating in recent quarters.

However, analysts believe the company will have to start running out of steam eventually.

“We expect [monthly users] to grow 14pc in Q1 [down from 17pc] as it decelerates due to the law of (really) large numbers,” analysts at RBC Capital Markets said.

Consensus forecasts are for Facebook to report revenues of $7.8bn (£6bn) and profits of $3.3bn, up 72pc on a year ago, when it unveils first quarter results on Wednesday.

Despite its continued growth, Facebook has been under renewed pressure in recent weeks over its ability to police the material shared on it. Its founder Mark Zuckerberg has promised to do more to address violence on Facebook’s live broadcasting feature, as well as the spread of fake news.

Apple, which reports quarterly results on Tuesday, is set to unveil a second consecutive quarter of growth after the iPhone maker’s unusual decline in sales last year.

Analysts expect revenues to have climbed 5pc to $53bn in the first three months of 2017, Apple’s second fiscal quarter. The company could, however, report a fall in profits if it misses expectations. Forecasts are for the company to barely register an increase in net income, up from $10.6bn to $10.7bn. Investors will also be closely watching Apple’s guidance for the next quarter.

The company is preparing to release a new version of the iPhone in September that rumours suggest could be radically different from current models, a change that is expected to drive a boom in upgrade sales.

Shares are currently trading at all-time highs, with Apple’s market valuation above $750bn. Investors are eyeing potential gains from Donald Trump’s mooted cuts to corporation tax and the levy on repatriating overseas cash to drive further boosts to its share price, which could send the company’s value towards $1 trillion.



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