NEW YORK — Investors are dumping Facebook’s stock, spooked by slowing revenue growth, the lack of a financial outlook and plans to spend more money in the coming months.
Are they right?
Only if they are thinking in the short term. Investors can expect Facebook’s stock to be volatile for a few years. But analysts say those willing to wait will likely be rewarded — someday.
‘‘I view it as a tomorrow stock,’’ says Christian Bertelsen, chief investment officer at wealth management firm Global Financial Private Capital. That’s about three or four years, he says.
Founded in chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room in 2004, Facebook was a product of the PC era. Now, in the age of mobile computing, a growing number of people are accessing Facebook through their iPhones, Android gadgets, and tablet computers. Yet Facebook is only now starting to figure out how to make money from its mobile audience.
‘‘The company is going through an almost painful transition from desktop to mobile,’’ Baird analyst Colin Sebastian says.
Facebook’s first earnings report since its rocky initial public offering on May 18 was the second coming that didn’t quite materialize. So investors sent Facebook’s stock to its lowest level ever on Friday. Shares fell $3.14, or nearly 12 percent, to close at $23.71 after hitting $22.28 in the morning. The previous low was $25.52, reached on June 6.
The stock dropped despite the fact that Facebook’s second-quarter results met Wall Street’s expectations, with revenue one-third higher than last year.
In the first quarter of this year, revenue climbed 44 percent, higher than the 32 percent increase in the second quarter. Following in Google’s footsteps, it did not offer financial guidance for the coming quarters, which makes it a riskier bet for investors.
Facebook also said it plans to increase its investments in the coming quarters. Higher expenses could mean lower profits.
With Facebook’s stock hitting a new low on Friday, the company lost up to 39 percent of its value. It’s now around $66 billion, a little more than 3M, the company that makes Scotch tapes, stethoscopes and sandpaper. It’s also in the same range as American Express.
Analysts are generally positive on Facebook. Of the 27 analyst ratings available from FactSet, 15 are ‘‘buy’’ or equivalent, while just three are a ‘‘sell.’’ Analysts tend to have longer-term views of stocks than many day-to-day investors.
‘‘We don’t view these results as dramatically good or bad,’’ Citi analyst Mark Mahaney says. ‘‘Key questions remain: the future of Facebook mobile monetization and the future of Facebook user engagement.’’