Twitter hits first-quarter profit on overseas growth

SAN FRANCISCO – Twitter (TWTR), driven by strong growth overseas, swung to a profit during the first quarter of the year, its second profitable quarter ever after a strong finish last year.

Shares climbed 3.5 percent before the market open on Wednesday.

For the three months ended March 31, Twitter earned $61 million, or 8 cents per share. A year earlier the San Francisco company lost $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share.

Removing certain items, earnings were 16 cents per share. That's 4 cents better than what analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research expected.

Revenue increased sharply to $664.9 million from $548.3 million, bolstered by a 53 percent jump overseas. That performance easily beat the $609.9 million in revenue that analysts projected.

Daily active users increased 10 percent, but that's down from 12 percent growth in the fourth quarter and 14 percent growth a year ago. Twitter had 336 million monthly average users in the quarter, up from the 330 million in the previous quarter and the 319 million users a year earlier.

Twitter has been dealing with several broader problems. It has struggled to get people to sign up, despite the attention President Donald Trump's no-holds barred tweets have drawn to the company. Part of the issue is that anyone can read tweets without signing up. As a result, Twitter's user base pales compared with Facebook (FB) and the Facebook-owned Instagram.

Twitter has also wrestled with hate speech and abusive comments, fake accounts and attempts by Russian agents to spread misinformation on the service.