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Pinterest Surges After User Numbers Top Analysts’ Estimates

Kurt Wagner

(Bloomberg) -- Pinterest Inc. shares surged after the company reported user numbers that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

The digital search and scrapbooking company also withdrew 2020 forecasts after the coronavirus pandemic hurt its advertising business, but investors focused on the growth of Pinterest’s online audience.

Monthly active users totaled 365 million to 367 million in the first quarter, higher than Wall Street estimates of 345 million users, according to Bloomberg MODL data. The company also reported preliminary first-quarter sales of $269 million to $272 million, slightly ahead of analyst estimates.

“While the company’s ad revenues began to decelerate sharply after the middle of March, engagement on Pinterest has been strong,” Mark Mahaney, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a research note. “In the last two weeks, Pinterest has seen record levels of engagement in terms of search, saving and board creation activity, as users look for ideas on everything from building a home office to fun activities to do with their kids (very necessary).”

San Francisco-based Pinterest ended the first quarter with about $1.7 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, no financial debt, and stressed that it has not drawn money from its $500 million revolving credit facility.

Shares of the company jumped as much as 15% in extended trading. The stock closed at $15.06 earlier in New York trading, leaving it down 40% since early February.

That month, the company had projected 2020 revenue of $1.52 billion and said its adjusted profit margin would be flat to up slightly from a year earlier. It scrapped that guidance on Tuesday, saying the Covid-19 pandemic “impacted Pinterest’s advertising revenue globally.”

“First-quarter revenue performance was consistent with our expectations through the middle of March, when we began to see a sharp deceleration,” Chief Financial Officer Todd Morgenfeld said.

Read more about digital ad budgets evaporating here.

Pinterest’s disclosure “largely confirms the negative shock that internet advertising began to experience in March,” RBC’s Mahaney wrote. “With PINS shares up +15% in the after-market, we believe there’s clearly a tell here about how concerned/low market expectations have been.”

Pinterest also said that Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher is leaving the company effective immediately. Brougher joined Pinterest in early 2018 from payments company Square Inc. Morgenfeld has been appointed to take over her duties.

“As we continue to position the company for long-term growth, we believe consolidating our financial and COO organizations under one leader will accelerate our speed of execution,” CEO Ben Silbermann said in a statement.

(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph.)

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