“Facebook Takes Historic Plunge as Scandals Finally Take a Toll.”
The social-media goliath’s financial performance had previously seemed immune to fierce critiques of its content policies, its failure to safeguard private data, and its changing rules for advertisers. But on Wednesday Facebook reported sales and user growth numbers for the second quarter that fell short of analysts’ projections, leaving investors reeling.
The company’s shares fell the most in its history as a public company, wiping out more than $120 billion in market value. It marks the largest ever loss of value in one day for a U.S. traded company. The stock was trading at $179.92 at 9:41 a.m. in New York.
The company told Wall Street the numbers won’t get any better this year. Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said revenue growth rates would decline in the third and fourth quarters. Analysts who follow Facebook were blindsided, asking frequently on a conference call with executives for more information on exactly how the company’s financial future had changed so dramatically.
For Facebook, financial stumbles are rare. The last time the company missed revenue estimates was the first quarter of 2015. But the results followed a period in which data-privacy issues came under harsh scrutiny, with Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg testifying before U.S. Congress for hours on the company’s missteps.
The quarter was also marked by Europe’s implementation of strict new data laws, which Facebook said led to fewer daily visitors in that region. The company was bombarded by public criticism over its content policies, especially in countries such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka where misinformation has led to violence. And it continued to suffer fallout from investigations into Russian manipulation of the platform during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
All of those problems are hitting amid a harsh truth for the company: Facebook, the social network with 2.23 billion active monthly users, can’t grow forever. “The core Facebook platform is declining,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group.
Facebook said it had 1.47 billion daily active users in June, compared with the 1.48 billion average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company’s user base flatlined in its biggest market, the U.S. and Canada, at 185 million daily users, while declining 1 percent in Europe to 279 million daily users. Overall, average daily users increased 11 percent from the period a year earlier..
“How Juncker wooed Trump.”
Jean-Claude Juncker was hailed as a hero by European business on Thursday for making Donald Trump blink and withdraw a threat to slap punitive import tariffs on EU cars and so escalate a transatlantic trade war.
The White House deal is one to savor for the European Commission president, two weeks after doubts were raised, notably in Germany, over his fitness for the job after he was taken unwell during a NATO summit where the U.S. president trashed his European allies.
The former Luxembourg premier and 30-year veteran of EU backroom haggling and his aides stressed the limits to what was achieved — well aware of Trump’s ability to change tack. And though Germany cheered that Juncker had bought their car makers time while talks are launched on freeing up trade, France sounded more cautious on possible new U.S. farm imports.
Yet there was widespread praise among European governments and business for the Commission’s strategy, in renewing offers that Trump had dismissed in the past for more free trade talks and sticking to its own threat of retaliation against U.S. products by the world’s biggest economic bloc. There was appreciation too for Juncker’s personal charm offensive.
“Pakistan election: Imran Khan claims victory amid rigging claims.”
Former cricketer Imran Khan has claimed victory in Pakistan’s election, amid accusations of vote rigging by rivals. In a television address, he said: «We were successful and we were given a mandate.» His PTI party is still expected to fall short of an overall majority and to seek coalition partners.
Campaigning has been marred by violence. On voting day a bomb killed 31 people at a polling station. Mr Khan, the charismatic aristocrat who captained Pakistan to a World Cup victory in 1992, has long shed his celebrity playboy image and has recently faced accusations that his election challenge was benefiting from military interference in the nuclear-armed republic.
An official confirmation of the vote is expected to come later in the evening. The party of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has rejected the results, as have a host of smaller parties, all alleging vote-rigging and manipulation.
The election has been seen as a contest between Mr Khan’s PTI party and Mr Sharif’s PML-N, with the party of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the historically liberal PPP, widely expected to come third.
In his address, Mr Khan said: «I think this has been the clearest, fairest election Pakistan has ever had.» He added that he would investigate any claims to the contrary. He also appealed to his rivals to join hands with him to develop Pakistan. And he vowed to hold talks with India to seek a resolution to the dispute over the Kashmir region, a key flashpoint between the nuclear-armed countries.
He also called for «mutually beneficial» ties with the United States, despite being an outspoken critic of that country’s anti-terrorism measures in the region, such as drone strikes.
“Economic Views Lift U.S. Consumer Comfort to Fresh 17-Year High.”
Americans’ confidence rose to the highest level since February 2001 on brighter assessments of the economy, the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index showed Thursday.
Confidence is rising as Americans continue to enjoy the benefits of tax cuts and a strong labor market, with data last week showing jobless claims fell to the lowest since 1969, while showing little concern about new tariffs and intensifying rhetoric surrounding trade issues. A more upbeat view of the economy outweighed weaker sentiment about the buying climate and household finances.