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Social media stocks sink to erase about $165 billion on Snap warning

Social media stocks lost about $165 billion in market value Tuesday after Snap Inc.’s profit warning, adding to woes for the sector which is already reeling amid stalling user growth and rate-hike fears.

Shares in digital ad-dependent Snap tumbled as much as 40 per cent, their biggest intraday decline ever, erasing about $15 billion in market value. Added to the value of declines for peers including Facebook-owner Meta Platforms, Google-owner Alphabet, Twitter and Pinterest, the group has seen $165.6 billion billion wiped out.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms plunged over 10 per cent during intraday trade, at 9:30 pm (IST). Snap was trading at $13.60 as of 9:50 am in New York, below its 2017 initial public offering price of $17.

“At this point, our sense is this is more macro and industry-driven versus Snap specific,” Piper Sandler analyst Tom Champion wrote in a note.

Others on Wall Street agreed, with Citi analyst Ronald Josey saying “a slowing macro is likely impacting advertising results across the broader Internet sector, although we believe platforms more exposed to brand advertising—like Twitter, Google’s YouTube, and Pinterest—are likely experiencing a greater impact overall.”

The owner of the Snapchat app, which sends disappearing messages and adds special effects to videos, reported quarterly user growth in April that topped estimates. But with the company saying just a month later that it won’t meet prior forecasts for revenue and profit, analysts noted a rapid deterioration of the economic environment.

The news spurred widespread selling across the advertising and ad-tech space. Among notable decliners, Trade Desk Inc. sank 18 per cent, fuboTV lost 7.7 per cent, Magnite lost 10 per cent, LiveRamp slid 7.4 per cent, Roku dropped 13 per cent, and Vizio Holding was down 5.5 per cent. In addition, Omnicom fell 6.4 per cent and Interpublic Group of Cos lost 4.9 per cent.

Snap and platforms like Facebook and Google are competing for advertising dollars at a challenging time. Spiraling inflation is putting pressure on companies and consumer spending, while recent privacy changes, such as Apple Inc.’s tracking restrictions, have slowed businesses that were booming during much of the pandemic.

User growth is another a big focus for social media firms as they vie to attract new customers to target ads in an already saturated market. In February, Facebook-parent Meta posted the biggest one-day wipeout in market value for any US company ever after saying that user additions stalled.

And broader concerns for the tech sector have also been hitting social media stocks, with the Federal Reserve’s path of rate hikes particularly weighing on technology stocks that are valued on future growth expectations.

Nasdaq 100 Index declined more than 2.7 per cent on Tuesday, set to reverse Monday’s advance for the gauge. The tech-heavy index is down 28 per cent this year, wiping out several hundred billions in value from the likes of Apple to other so-called growth peers like Netflix. Bloomberg

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