Explaining Southern California's economy

Facebook's earnings call: The Storify treatment

Facebook Sets IPO Price At 38 Dollars A Share

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook's first earnings report wasn't disappointing. But a big question about its mobile growth prospects is dogging the company.

Facebook reported earnings for the first time today as a public company and, as expected, it mostly met Wall Street's expectations, earning $0.12 per share. But that didn't matter much, as the stock still got crushed in after-hours trading, diving well below its $38/share IPO offering price. How could this be, on a day when the markets rallied on news that the European Central Bank will — wink, wink — not allow the euro to fail, according ECB President Mario Draghi?

I listened to Facebook's earnings call, which feature CEO mark Zuckerberg in additional to COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman — he of the botched IPO — in speaking roles. The focus of the call was mobile, mobile, mobile. Facebook has almost a billion PC users and half a billion mobile users. And it's to this latter group that Wall Street is now looking for growth. Unfortunately, Facebook just isn't there yet on developing an ad platform for the mobile environment. And it may not get there for a while. 

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Facebook's big day may not really be so big

Facebook Debuts As Public Company With Initial Public Offering On NASDAQ Exchange

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Facebook will report earnings for the first time ever tomorrow.

It's not the IPO big day, which turned out to be a total FAIL! day. Rather, it's Facebook's first quarterly earnings report as a public company, due to arrive tomorrow. 

This is from AP by way of Boston.com:

Though there’s a lot riding on its second-quarter earnings report — Wall Street analysts aren’t expecting big surprises. Why? Facebook effectively warned investors before its IPO that Wall Street’s expectations were too high. In a filing issued a week before its IPO, Facebook said its mobile users are growing at a faster pace than the number of ads on its mobile platform.

As a result of that disclosure and others, many analysts reduced their estimates for Facebook’s projected revenue and earnings.

On average, analysts are expecting Facebook to post earnings of 12 cents per share on revenue of $1.16 billion, according to a poll by FactSet. In all of 2011, it had net income of $1 billion and revenue of $3.71 billion, according to regulatory filings.

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Rocketdyne is only worth half an Instagram?

Mercer 10129

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

This Feb. 12, 2009 photo shows buildings at the old Rocketdyne facility, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, in the Simi Valley area near Los Angeles. The company was just sold for $550 million.

The success of SpaceX and its historic Space Station servicing mission put the space business in California back on the map. But the sale of on a space pioneer in the Golden State reminds us that the economy has changed. In the 1950s, high-tech meant aerospace and rocketry. In the second decade of the 20th century, those industries still command respect and inspire a romantic view of the future. But if you want to sell your company for billions, smartphones and photo-sharing apps are the way to go.

This encapsulates the rise of Silicon Valley and the decline of Southern California. Although SoCal can still turn in some good results. As I reported back in March, United Technologies decided to sell Rocketdyne — the company makes exactly what it sounds like it makes, rocket boosters — to fund a record-breaking $16.5-billion acquisition of Goodrich Corp. UT has now completed that sale, to GenCorp for $550 million, according to the L.A. Times.

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New CEO Marissa Mayer is a huge hire for Yahoo

FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Dinner New York City

Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.

Marissa Mayer speaks onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Dinner New York City. The 37-year-old was named CEO of Yahoo today.

One thing's for sure about newly named Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: no one will question the Stanford computer science grad's credentials, as they ultimately did those of Mayer's predecessor, Scott Thompson, who had exaggerations in his resume that were revealed by activist Yahoo shareholder Dan Loeb earlier this year.

Mayer actually ups the ante on engineering cred: the 37-year-old was Google's first female engineer, as well as one of the first 20 employees hired (she was in fact number 20). She can't, however, repeat that achievement in the Yahoo C-suite: she follows Carol Bartz (ousted last September) as the second woman to hold the top job.

This move has taken the tech world by surprise ("shock" might be a better word). It was widely expected interim CEO Ross Levinsohn would get the nod, given that he seemed to have Loeb's support. In this respect, the naming of Mayer is earth-shattering, and it comes on the heels of rumors that she had been passed over for advancement at Google, even though she had been standing in for co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at public events and in the media. Mayer ranks right alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as powerful women in Silicon Valley go.

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June jobs report could 'surprise to the upside'

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC. Friday's jobs report from the Labor Department could be a happy surprise.

"Surprise to the upside" — that's finance-speak for something in the market turning out better than expected. After last month's fairly dreadful jobs report, with the U.S. adding only 69,000 jobs in May, many observers are expecting another sluggish month in June. However, some data that has arrived before the official Labor Department report tomorrow suggests that June could beat expectations.

As I wrote this morning, the ADP report says that the country added 176,000 new private-sector jobs in June — with the lion's share coming from small-business hiring. The Challenger report on layoffs also indicated that companies planned to lay off less than 40,000 workers in June, a 13-month low. And first-time unemployment insurance claims for the last week in June fell, to 374,000. If you're below 400,000, that's typically a good sign for the economy's improving health.

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