Twitter stock surges more than 18 percent as it nears first profitable quarter

Twitter stock rose more than 18 percent Thursday after the company posted strong earnings, beating revenue and earning per share estimates while giving higher-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter.

The company said in its guidance for next quarter that if it hit the high end of its estimates of $220 million to $240 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, it could be profitable under generally accepted accounting principles.

  • Revenue: $590 million vs. $586.7 million expected in a Thompson Reuters survey of analysts.
  • EPS (non-GAAP diluted): 10 cents vs. 6 cents expected in the Thompson Reuters consensus estimate.
  • Monthly active users (MAUs): 330 million vs. 330.4 million projected by Street Account.

"This quarter we made progress in three key areas of our business: we grew our audience and engagement, made progress on a return to revenue growth, and achieved record profitability," CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement.

"We're proud that the improvements we're making to the product continue to bring people back to Twitter on a daily basis. It's our job to help people stay informed about what's happening in the world and what people are talking about, and we're focused on making our service faster, easier to use, and more relevant to more people every day."

In premarket trading after the report, Twitter's stock surged 11 percent before giving back some of the gains. (For the latest price, click here.)

Twitter reported its highest adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter, with total non-GAAP expenses down 10 percent year over year or 35 percent of total revenue. Total GAAP expenses of $582 million were down 16 percent from the quarter a year earlier.

Twitter also announced it had to readjust its monthly active users (MAUs) all the way back to the fourth quarter of 2014 because it had accidentally counted users of a third party app service as its own.

It said the miscalculations amounted to no more than 1 million to 2 million users each quarter.

As a result, its latest quarter's MAUs were 330 million, slightly below the Street Account estimate of 330.4 million. The company added 4 million MAUs since last quarter in light of the adjustments, a growth rate of 4 percent year over year.

The daily active user (DAU) count was not affected and grew 14 percent since this time last year.

Despite the MAUs error, Twitter beat analysts expectations on revenue and earns per share. Though advertising revenue declined 8 percent year over year, data licensing and other revenue increased 22 percent over the same period.

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