Zuck’s betting on a future only he can see

Wall Street isn't cheering Meta's massive AI investments

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No one told me Wall Street was celebrating opposite day this week.

On Wednesday, Meta crushed its first-quarter earnings.

Then the stock cratered after hours.

That followed Tesla’s double-digit stock rally — which was fueled by earnings that fell short of expectations.

Markets move on Zuck’s grand plans

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta Earnings, Markets

Made with AI by Opening Bell Daily

Mark Zuckerberg has led Meta for two decades with enormous success.

He has little left to prove as a founder, billionaire, or even mixed martial artist.

After recently winning fans with a chain neckless, Zuck on Wednesday delivered better-than-expected earnings for the first quarter.

Yet Meta’s stock price plunged so sharply afterward you’d think investors were ready to delete Instagram off their phones.

Meta reported a 27% revenue jump compared to the same quarter a year ago. But Wall Street responded badly to its plans to double-down on artificial intelligence.

On the earnings call, Zuckerberg said Meta would be directing cash toward new, AI tech over the next several years:

“But realistically, even with shifting many of our existing resources to focus on AI, we will still grow our investment envelope meaningfully before we make much revenue from some of these new products.”

Those increased costs will push capital spending as high as $40 billion this year, above the prior estimate of about $37 billion, according to Meta.

The stock was down as much as 19% following the earnings report.

More than $240 billion in market value evaporated in a matter of hours.

Remember, this is a company that has climbed 137% over the last year and people use its products around the world.

Some facts:

  • Meta posted $36.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter

  • More than 3.2 billion users log on to Meta’s apps everyday

  • The company has a $58 billion war chest of cash

There are other big numbers to share, but these three alone make the bull case for Meta plain.

Some analysts also pointed to the company’s $3.8 billion loss in its metaverse division, Reality Labs.

Still, it would’ve been hard to predict that one losing bet among a handful of jackpots would culminate in a historic single-day stock drop.

The market reaction makes one thing clear: Zuck is betting on a future that only he can see.

That’s hard for Wall Street to stomach.

“Historically,” Zuckerberg said, “investing to build these new scale experiences in our apps has been a very good long-term investment for us and for investors who have stuck with us.”

*At a glance:

*Data as of 10:00 p.m. ET


  • The FTC wants to unlock the American labor market. Officials proposed eliminating non-compete clauses, saying they limit job mobility and leave employees at a disadvantage. (Opening Bell Daily)

  • US exceptionalism isn’t always good. The US economy will account for more than a quarter of global GDP this year, the IMF said. Similar grand set-ups of the past have ended in crises. (WSJ)

  • Boeing can’t catch a break. Shares of the embattled airliner fell on Wednesday even after it beat earnings estimates. Balance sheet aside, the company still faces production and quality concerns. (Barron’s)

Rapid-fire headlines:

  • Microsoft earnings are due after the bell Thursday (Yahoo Finance)

  • President Biden proposed a 45% capital gains tax rate (Forbes)

  • Tesla short sellers have lost big betting against Elon Musk (Opening Bell Daily)

  • McKinsey is under criminal investigation over Opioid consulting (WSJ)

  • Nvidia agreed to acquire two Israeli AI startups (The Information)

  • JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon is bashing crypto again (Business Insider)

Last thing:

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