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Meta Platforms Shares Skyrocket as Zuckerberg Vows Increased Focus on Returns"

Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META) stock is on its way to its highest opening in eight months after the company reported a rebound in profits and promised a big boost in shareholder returns.

The social media giant pledged to buy back another $40 billion of stock and reduce its operating cost forecast by 7%. CEO Mark Zuckerberg signaled a sharper focus on profitability, announcing plans to scale down some expensive bets on new projects and reassess underperforming ventures.

The company reported improvement in its core advertising business, thanks to the deployment of AI tools for more efficient ad targeting. Despite a challenging advertising market, Meta's Q4 revenue was down 4% YoY but up 2% adjusted for foreign exchange swings, reflecting growth in its mature user base. The company also announced plans to cut expenses by 7% and capital spending by a similar amount, following last month's announcement to reduce headcount by over 10%.

Analysts noted Zuckerberg's commitment to efficiency while maintaining his "build the next big thing" growth mindset. The company's 2023 expenses will be in the range of $92 billion, and daily active user growth has increased 4% to 2 billion, attributed to progress in engagement with the Reels feature. The company's Q1 revenue forecast is in line with market expectations at $26B to $28.5B.

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