Twitter (TWTR) earnings Q1 2020

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Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twitter Inc., listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twitter is set to report first-quarter 2020 earnings before the bell on Thursday.

The report is expected to give investors further insight into the state of the digital advertising industry as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated budgets at many companies. Twitter pulled its guidance for the quarter at the end of March, blaming the coronavirus for a slowdown in advertising revenue that made it hard to pin down its results.

Wall Street is anticipating earnings per share of 10 cents on revenue of $776 million, based on Refinitiv consensus estimates. Monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) is expected to come in at 164 million, based on StreetAccount estimates. However, it’s difficult to compare reported earnings to analyst estimates for Twitter’s first quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit global economies and makes earnings impact difficult to assess.

Prior to the pandemic, Jack Dorsey’s role as CEO was challenged by activist investment firm Elliott Management. The firm wanted Dorsey removed in part because of his split responsibility as chief executive of both Twitter and Square and his previous plans to move to Africa for several months. As the coronavirus spread throughout the world, Dorsey said he was reconsidering the move to Africa and Twitter struck a deal with Elliott and Silver Lake, leaving Dorsey in place for the time being.

Analysts at Bernstein said earlier this month that the involvement of Elliott and Silver Lake will help catalyze innovation at Twitter, especially in ad products. The deal included a $1 billion investment in the company by Silver Lake. 

But in the near term, the analysts said, Twitter, like other digital ad platforms, will likely suffer from lower ad revenue even as engagement climbs since many brands are wary of advertising on coronavirus-related content.

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