Pre/post earnings: Yahoo, Facebook, Netflix

Stock watching and more in the context of earnings:

Marissa Mayer on Monday aced her first public test as Yahoo CEO — presiding over the company’s earnings call — with flying colors, judging from Wall Street’s reaction. One analyst gave her an “an A-minus. She was efficient and precise. You felt like this was someone who is not going to let opportunities pass by,” according to the Merc’s Brandon Bailey.

Shares of the Sunnyvale company are were up more than 5 percent to about $16.60 as of this post, after rising in after-hours trading Monday. They are near a 52-week high.

A key word: Optimism — which Mayer’s first earnings call seemed to give analysts, along with improved numbers in the third quarter, including in revenue from some ads and from the sale of half of its stake in Chinese Internet company Alibaba.

Another key word is mobile, which she said would be Yahoo’s focus. We hear it all the time, the future of computing is in mobile — and Mayer said Yahoo “hasn’t capitalized” yet on that opportunity. “Yahoo will have to be a predominantly mobile company,” Mayer said, according to the Wall Street Journal. She suggested that the popular content Internet users go to Yahoo for, such as sports and financial information and even email, would be key to the Sunnyvale company’s mobile strategy.

Still, an analyst quoted by the New York Times remains concerned about Yahoo’s persistent problems. “The wheels didn’t come off the bus,” said Colin Gillis with BCG Partners. “But there are still some serious issues facing her.”

• Speaking of mobile, investors and other interested observers will be watching closely what Facebook has to say about its mobile strategy, and progress, if any. The Menlo Park company is scheduled to report earnings today for the second time since going public in May. As more people access Facebook on their smartphones, the pressure is on the social network to figure out how to adapt its ads to make money from the growing number of mobile users.

Other questions include the performance of overall ad revenue. As one analyst points out, according to the Wall Street Journal, “marketers are in a reset period as they try to understand the impact of Facebook ads.” Also key is Facebook’s revenue from business partner and social-games maker Zynga. The San Francisco company, which  is scheduled to report earnings Wednesday, recently pre-announced earnings that were lower than first estimated.

One analysts poll expects Facebook to post profit of 11 cents a share on $1.2 billion in revenue.

Facebook shares were up more than 1.25 percent to $19.58 as of this post. Besides today’s earnings report, they are likely to be affected in the near term by investor sentiment about upcoming stock lockup expirations: one next Monday and one Nov. 14.

Netflix shares are up less than 1 percent as of this post, to $68.20 as of this post, ahead of its expected earnings report today. The thing to watch with the Los Gatos company, of course, is streaming. It is expanding streaming into international markets, at a cost some analysts are worried about, according to Reuters. And it’s hard to overlook the costs of securing that streaming content.

An analysts poll expects profit of 5 cents a share on $904.4 million in revenue, compared with $1.16 a share on $812.8 million in revenue. But the key numbers are number of subscribers, with analysts a bit pessimistic that the company will meet its targets for streaming subscribers this year, according to MarketWatch. Netflix was looking for 7 million new subscribers by the end of the year.


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