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Twitter shares plunge by 20 per cent on poor Q1 results

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Shares in Twitter fell by almost 20 per cent in an hour yesterday, after its first quarter results were released early by a financial analytics company.

The analytics company – Selerity – tweeted Twitter’s Q1 results at 3pm on Tuesday, an hour ahead of the planned official release of the figures. The data pointed to losses 23 per cent higher than during the same period a year ago.

While the 4pm release date had been chosen to coincide with the close of trading, the premature publication meant markets had an hour to react; they did so by plunging Twitter’s shares to 41.84, from a day beginning high of 52.10.

While initially branded a leak by many media outlets, Selerity clarified in a subsequent tweet that the information did not constitute a leak, nor had it been sourced via hacking – the information had been located on Twitter’s own investor relations site.

The figures indicate that Twitter experienced its worst quarterly revenue growth since its IPO 18 months ago; revenue growth of 74 per cent (to $425.9m) was well below analysts’ expectations, and forecasts for Q2 have been accordingly cut.

Despite a significant growth in the number of active Twitter users over the past year, the social media platform continues to suffer from stagnant advertising revenues; recent innovations, such as promoted ‘direct response’ tweets, have failed to capture the imaginations of advertisers and users alike.

To date, Twitter is yet to make a profit; in fact, international expansion efforts (including opening overseas offices and data centres) helped contribute to Q1 losses of $162m – 23 per cent greater than in the same period last year.

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