What to Look For When Twitter Reports Earnings on Thursday

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Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is scheduled to release its most recent quarterly earnings before the markets open on Thursday. Much like Facebook, Twitter is now more actively policing its platform after having been called out for inadvertently influencing the U.S. election. While Twitter is making progress on the social front, investors will get the chance to see if Twitter has actually made any fundamental progress in its report tomorrow morning.

Over the course of 2017, Twitter has underperformed the U.S. broad markets, with its stock up about 6%, compared to the S&P 500 that is up about 15%. The stock is actually down 4% in the past 52 weeks.

As for the third-quarter earnings, the consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $0.07 in earnings per share (EPS) and $586.73 million in revenue. In the same period of last year, Twitter posted EPS of $0.09 and $615.93 million in revenue.

Early on Wednesday Twitter announced that it will begin to label some ads placed on its service as political messages. According to Fortune:

Twitter said on Tuesday it would add labels to election-related advertisements and say who is behind each of them, after a threat of regulation from the United States over the lack of disclosure for political spending on social media.

Twitter said in a blog post the company would launch a website so that people could see the identities of the buyers, targeting demographics and total ad spend by election advertisers, as well as information about all ads currently running on Twitter, election-related or otherwise.

This announcement came after Twitter said it found roughly 200 Russian accounts that may have been used to influence elections. Congress criticized the company for lax systems that could have caught the activity.

Although, with all this policing, will Twitter have any time to focus on finally monetizing its platform?

The short interest report for the most recent period just came out, and Twitter’s short interest decreased slightly to 50.45 million from the previous level of 50.76 million.

Shares of Twitter were last seen down 0.6% at $17.15, with a consensus analyst price target of $15.87 and a 52-week range of $14.12 to $20.88.