Meta Platforms experienced a significant surge in the U.S. after-market on Thursday, with its stock price climbing an impressive 15.2 percent to $454.81. This jump came in the wake of the company's fourth-quarter and full-year 2023 financial results, which exceeded market expectations on nearly every front.
The technology giant, responsible for popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, reported outstanding performance in the fourth quarter, with revenues reaching $40.1 billion against analysts' projections of $39.0 billion, according to Bloomberg News estimates. Earnings per share also outperformed expectations, coming in at $5.33 compared to the predicted $4.91.
Looking ahead to the first quarter, Meta Platforms has set its revenue target between $34.5 and $37.0 billion, surpassing the market consensus of $33.6 billion. In addition to these robust financials, Meta announced its first-ever dividend payout, rewarding shareholders with 50 cents per share for the fourth quarter's achievements.
This inaugural quarterly dividend marks a significant milestone in the company's history, highlighting its strong financial health and commitment to returning value to its shareholders.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Meta Platforms, reflected on the quarter's success, attributing it to the continuous growth of the company's community and business. He emphasized the progress made in advancing artificial intelligence and the metaverse, areas he has identified as key to Meta's future growth.
2023 has been dubbed "the year of efficiency" by Zuckerberg, with Meta Platforms undertaking substantial layoffs to cut costs while cautioning against potential headwinds affecting revenue growth. By the end of 2023, the company's workforce had decreased by 22 percent from the previous year, totaling 67,317 employees.
Meta's strong quarterly performance and optimistic outlook, coupled with its strategic cost-saving measures, have positioned the company for sustained growth and innovation in the evolving digital landscape.