Social media stocks are on course to shed more than $100 billion in market value after Snap Inc.’s profit warning, adding to woes for the sector which is already reeling amid stalling user growth and rate-hike fears.
Shares in digital ad-dependent Snap are set for a record one-day drop, down 32% in premarket trading. If that move holds, the company will lose about $10 billion in market value. Added to the value of premarket declines for peers including Facebook-owner Meta Platforms Inc., Google-owner Alphabet Inc., Twitter Inc. and Pinterest Inc., the group may see about $100 billion wiped out.
“At this point, our sense is this is more macro and industry-driven versus Snap specific,” Piper Sandler analyst Tom Champion wrote in a note.
Others on Wall Street agreed, with Citi analyst Ronald Josey saying “a slowing macro is likely impacting advertising results across the broader Internet sector, although we believe platforms more exposed to brand advertising—like Twitter, Google’s YouTube, and Pinterest—are likely experiencing a greater impact overall.”
The owner of the Snapchat app, which sends disappearing messages and adds special effects to videos, reported quarterly user growth in April that topped estimates. But with the company saying just a month later that it won’t meet prior forecasts for revenue and profit, analysts noted a rapid deterioration of the economic environment.
Snap and platforms like Facebook and Google are competing for advertising dollars at a challenging time. Spiraling inflation is putting pressure on companies and consumer spending, while recent privacy changes, such as Apple Inc.’s tracking restrictions, have slowed businesses that were booming during much of the pandemic.
User growth is another a big focus for social media firms as they vie to attract new customers to target ads in an already saturated market. In February, Facebook-parent Meta posted the biggest one-day wipeout in market value for any U.S. company ever after saying that user additions stalled.
And broader concerns for the tech sector have also been hitting social media stocks, with the Federal Reserve’s path of rate hikes particularly weighing on technology stocks that are valued on future growth expectations.
Nasdaq 100 futures fell 1.8% in premarket trading on Tuesday, set to reverse most of Monday’s advance for the gauge. The tech-heavy index is down 26% this year, wiping out several hundred billions in value from the likes of Apple to other so-called growth peers like Netflix Inc.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, expects the US markets to have a bad day when trading kicks off.
“That in turn will put investors in a bad mood and create more storm clouds just at the point when many were hoping the market slump was close to bottoming out,” Mould said.
(Updates share moves and adds analyst comments.)
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