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Twitter posts small earnings in first quarter as a public company, but user growth is slowing

Brad Molen

Now that Twitter is a publicly traded company, it's time to add the business to our collection of quarterly earnings reports. So how did it do in the first go-round? Well, there are pros and cons: In what CEO Dick Costolo says was the "strongest financial quarter to date," the company posted a small earnings of $45 million for the quarter and $75 million for the year, which doesn't take into account the $511 million loss attributed to stock-related expenses. Still, the earnings of two cents per share beat Wall Street's estimates, which predicted a loss of three cents. Quarterly revenues were at $242 million, which is a 116 percent jump from this quarter last year.

More interestingly, Twitter's active user growth appears to be slowing (chart below); the company boasted a total of 241 million active users as of New Year's Eve, which is only a bump of 9 million from the previous quarter. Compared to previous quarters, this 4 percent growth is a drop from 6 percent in Q3 2013, 7 percent in Q2 and 10 percent in Q1. This growth will need to accelerate if the social network wants to start catching up with Facebook's 1.2 billion users. Additionally, 184 million people used Twitter on their mobile devices, which the company says is an increase of 37 percent year-over-year.

Twitter also projects an estimated $230-240 million in revenues for the first quarter of 2014, rising to $1.15-1.2 billion for the full year. It also expects adjusted earnings to show up around $10-16 million this quarter, with a range of $150-180 million in 2014.

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