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Apple and Facebook results reverse tech stock sell off

Apple and Facebook results reverse tech stock sell off
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The technology sector has bounced back, thanks to heavyweights Apple and Facebook.

In recent weeks investors have been selling shares in tech companies worried that they were overvalued, but then the two high-profile firms came out with bumper quarterly numbers.

Apple posted revenue that far outpaced expectations.

It also approved the buyback of another 30 billion dollars worth of its share, raised the dividend it pays and authorised a stock split.

Demand for iPhones was key for Apple with 43.7 million sold in the quarter.

Greater China and Japan saw handset sales jump by strong double-digits, boosted by the recent inclusion of NTT Docomo and China Mobile as carrier partners.

Sales of iPads fell to 16.35 million during that time.

Facebook topped Wall Street’s forecasts as its vital mobile advertising business accelerated in the first three months of the year and overall revenue grew 72 percent year-on-year, with profits of $642m (465m euros).

But Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research pointed out not everything is rosy: “The problem for Facebook is that user growth has actually started to slow down, so every quarter for the last three quarters now, the number of new users has gone down from the previous quarter, so that growth is slowing the number of users. Engagement is still increasing, so more monthly users are also becoming daily users and that’s a good thing, although in Asia in fact that’s lagging.”

And the social networking company itself warned its advertising revenue growth would slow throughout the year, as it faces tougher year-on-year comparisons.

It also told investors they should not expect major new revenue streams anytime soon from things like video adverts on the main Facebook site or ads within its Instagram photo-sharing app.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told analysts on a conference cal that Instagram ads, video ads and a nascent mobile ad network were all still in experimental phases and that none of them would make a meaningful contribution to revenue in 2014.

with Reuters