Twitter hits first-quarter profit on overseas growth

Twitter struggles to protect users

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.

Study: Humans, not bots, to blame for spreading false news stories on Twitter

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.