Snap's first earnings report will show how much it's feeling pressure from Facebook

Key Points
  • Snap's first earnings report since going public is expected to show fast growth, more losses.
  • First-quarter financials should provide insight into impact of new Facebook features.
  • Snap's quarterly sales are seen surging fourfold to $158 million.
Snapchat app
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For Snap, parent company of social media site Snapchat, raising money has come much easier than making it.

While its $3.9 billion initial stock sale in early March was the largest U.S. IPO in more than two years, the company has consistently reported huge losses.

And when it reports earning for the first time as a public company on Wednesday, investors will get a sharp reminder that it's still not close to making a profit.

Just as important: They'll see whether Facebook's habit of adopting knock-off features has dented Snapchat's user growth.

Wall Street expects the company to post an adjusted loss of 12 cents a share, based on the estimates of 29 analysts compiled by Yahoo Finance. This excludes the impact of stock-based compensation, which Snap — like other tech firms — doles out liberally.

Including those numbers, Snap's operations are deep in the red.

Last year's operating and net losses outstripped sales, for example — a sign of how much funding it's already burned through.

What Snap has been delivering to investors is skyrocketing revenue growth.

First-quarter sales are expected to rise fourfold from a year earlier as Snapchat puts more ads in front of its roughly 150 million users.

Facebook, meanwhile, has been busy adding features pioneered by its upstart rival — including easy-to-use photo filters and a way for users to create their own video stories.

Wednesday afternoon's report will reveal whether Facebook's push is impacting Snap's growth in users or ad sales — though company said in its IPO filing that it expected first-quarter sales to decline from the end of last year.

That has led analysts to expect revenue of $158 million, compared with $165 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Still, such a sequential revenue drop hasn't happened in at least two years, according to Snap's regulatory filings.

And any revenue hiccup is likely to be fodder for Wall Street bears betting against the stock amid growing competition.

While Snap shares surged 44 percent in their first day of public trading in March, to more than $24 a share, the stock has closed below that level every day of April and May.

Snap shares were down less than 1 percent Wednesday morning.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.