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Facebook shares, ratings fall after tepid earnings report

By Sommer Brokaw and Daniel Uria
Facebook shares, ratings fall after tepid earnings report
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street in New York City Monday. Thursday, shares of Facebook declined nearly 20 percent following the company's earnings report that indicated a drop in revenue was likely. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

July 26 (UPI) -- Facebook stock has plummeted more than 40 points after the social media giant's earnings forecast projected a future revenue drop.

At the end of trading Thursday, Facebook stock was down 41.24 points, or 19 percent, and three analysts downgraded the shares' rating.

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"Given the increased near-term uncertainty on revenue growth, slowing user growth, and lower margin forecast, we are downgrading our rating," Aaron Kessler, one of the analysts, said Thursday.

The decline was noteworthy considering the stock withstood the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal over the leaking of personal information for as many as 87 million people.

Facebook stock lost a fifth of its value after an earnings report Wednesday showed declining revenue and slower user growth.

Shares lost more than $110 billion in market capitalization for Facebook and pushed other Internet and tech stocks down.

Facebook chief financial officer David Wehner said the profit margin would fall to the "mid-30s on a percentage basis," over two years. The operating margin from the second quarter was 44 percent.

Facebook shares reached a record high weeks ago, pushing CEO Mark Zuckerberg's wealth past investor Warren Buffett's.

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After investors began to sell off Facebook stock Thursday, Zuckerberg's net worth dropped by $15.4 billion to $67.1 billion, leaving him in sixth place on Forbes' real-time ranking of the world billionaires.

Executives had warned that increased security measures over Russian election interference would affect Facebook's future profitability.

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