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Facebook Posts Biggest Drop Since May on Earnings Concern

Facebook Inc., operator of the world’s largest social-networking service, posted its biggest one-day drop since May 29 amid investor concerns the company’s earnings report next week will point to slowing sales growth.

The stock fell 8.1 percent to $28.25 at 4 p.m. in New York. It has slid 26 percent since the Menlo Park, California-based company sold shares in an initial public offering in May.

Some investors may be selling the stock before Facebook’s earnings report on July 26, said Laura Martin, an analyst at Needham & Co. in New York. The company will report second-quarter sales of $1.16 billion, according to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That average has declined about 3.9 percent in the past four weeks, the data show. A report from Web portal Yahoo! Inc. tomorrow will probably give Facebook investors an early glimpse into Internet advertising in the second quarter, she said.

“Some of the stock weakness could be in anticipation of weaker earnings,” said Martin, who suggests buying Facebook shares. “We’ll have a better idea about the picture after Yahoo reports earnings tomorrow.”

Facebook will report second-quarter earnings, excluding some items, of 11 cents a share, according to the average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg. That average has declined about 11 percent in the past four weeks.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said last week that investors frustrated with the stock’s decline since its public offering are paying the price for betting on a short-term rally.

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said last week that his hardest job right now is figuring out how to adapt the company’s services to mobile devices.

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