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Twitter's first public earnings report beats expectations

Twitter reported its first earnings as a publicly traded company on Wednesday afternoon and soundly beat expectations.

The San Francisco company reported a loss of $511 million for the fourth quarter. Revenue totaled $243 million, up 116% from $112 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Wall Street had expected revenue of about $218 million.

"Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date," Chief Executive Dick Costolo said. "We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build upon the Twitter experience."

The microblogging site had 241 million average monthly active users as of Dec. 31, up 30% year over year. Mobile users averaged 184 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 37%.

But user growth slowed, with Twitter adding only 9 million users in the last three months.

Shares of Twitter, which ended the day down less than 1% to $65.97, plummeted in after-hours trading. At 1:30 p.m. PST, they were down nearly 12%.

Timeline views reached 148 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, up 26%. Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.49 in the fourth quarter, up 76%.

Twitter said its advertising revenue totaled $220 million, an increase of 121% year over year. Mobile advertising revenue accounts for more than 75% of that.

International revenue totaled $66 million, an increase of 200% year over year. International revenue was 27% of total revenue.

Twitter's $511-million loss was largely due to stock-based compensation expense. During the fourth quarter in 2012, Twitter reported a loss of $9 million.

Excluding one-time items, fourth-quarter profit was $10 million, or 2 cents a share.

The company provided a first-quarter outlook that included projected revenue from $230 million to $240 million.

For the full year, Twitter estimated revenue to range from $1.15 billion to $1.2 billion.

The company will hold a conference call at 2 p.m. to discuss its financial results. Questions submitted via Twitter, directed to @TwitterIR using the hashtag #TWTRearnings will be considered during the Q&A portion of the call.

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