As we get deeper into earnings season for the third quarter of 2022, the biggest negative surprises are coming from technology companies, with the tech giants leading the way. Investors, used to a decade of better-than-expected earnings and rising stock prices at these companies, have been blindsided by unexpected bad news in earnings reports, and have knocked down the market capitalization of these companies by hundreds of billions of dollars in the last few weeks. Facebook (or Meta, if you prefer its new name), in particular, has been in the eye of the storm, down more than 75% from the trillion-dollar market capitalization that it enjoyed just over a year ago. In its last earnings report, the company managed to disappoint almost every segment of the market, shocking growth investors with a drop in quarterly revenues, and value investors with a sharp decline in earnings and cash flows. In the days after the report, the reaction has predictably fallen into the extremes, with one group arguing that this is the beginning of the end for the company's business and the other suggesting that this is the time to buy the stock, as it prepares for a new growth spurt.
Having valued and invested in Facebook multiple times in the last decade, I will throw my two cents in, but rather than make the earnings report the center of attention, I will use the company's recent travails to talk about three issues that I think are big issues not only at (Read more...)