Snap posts surprise revenue growth, but Israel conflict is making advertisers skittish

Snap Inc. shares tend to swing wildly after earnings reports, but the reaction looks unusually muted after Tuesday’s results.

That’s not because the latest numbers were lacking in developments. Rather, Wall Street seems to be weighing a long-awaited improvement in business trends during the most recent quarter against some more ominous signals that emerged after it ended.


broke a streak of revenue declines Tuesday as it sported 5% growth on the top line for its latest quarter. The company noted that new brand-advertising products were seeing nice uptake.

At the same time, the company sounded a more measured tone about the current quarter, owing in part to the conflict in the Middle East.

Snap “observed pauses in spending from a large number of primarily brand-oriented advertising campaigns immediately following the onset of the war in the Middle East, and this has been a headwind to revenue quarter-to-date,” the company said in its earnings release. “While some of these campaigns have now resumed, and the impact on our revenue has partially diminished, we continue to observe new pauses and the risk that these pauses could persist or increase in magnitude remains.”

See also: Google parent Alphabet’s business growth is fastest in more than a year on advertising rebound

The company added that it would be “imprudent to provide formal guidance for Q4” given the war in the Middle East, though it did share that its that its internal forecasts assume $1.320 billion to $1.375 billion in revenue, whereas the FactSet consensus was for $1.34 billion.

Shares were essentially flat in after-hours action Tuesday.

For the latest quarter, Snap logged $1.19 billion in revenue, up from $1.13 billion a year before. Analysts were modeling $1.11 billion. Snap’s revenue had fallen on a year-over-year basis in each of the prior two quarters.

Snap recorded a third-quarter net loss of $368 million, or 23 cents a share, whereas it lost $360 million, or 22 cents a share, in the year-before period. Analysts were modeling a 24-cent per-share loss.

The company had 406 million daily active users for the third quarter, compared with 397 million in the second quarter. Snap matched the FactSet consensus on the metric.

Snap also said Tuesday that its board of directors has approved a stock-buyback program of up to $500 million.

“The goal of the program is to utilize the company’s strong balance sheet to opportunistically offset a portion of the dilution related to the issuance of restricted stock units to employees as part of the overall compensation program designed to foster an ownership culture,” the company said in its earnings release.

As for the current period, Snap sees itself “on the right path with our direct-response advertising platform,” though “forward visibility of advertising demand remains limited due to several factors.”

Beyond the Middle East conflict, those factors include that, historically, Snap has seen “backweighted” revenue in the holiday quarter. Additionally, the fourth quarter typically brings a higher mix of brand advertising relative to other quarters, and brand advertising grew at a slower pace than direct-response advertising during the third quarter.

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