Facebook Soars By Earnings Expectations As Ad Sales Grow

By Jennifer Booton Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Facebook soared 3% in after-hours trade Wednesday following the company's stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings report. Facebook reported net income of $3.6 billion, or $1.21 a share, compared with $1.6 billion, or 54 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding one-time items, Facebook reported non-GAAP earnings of $1.41 a share, beating the average analyst estimates of $1.31 a share, according to FactSet. Revenue for the period rose to $8.81 billion, compared with $5.8 billion a year ago, beating the Wall Street consensus estimate of $8.5 billion. The company's advertising revenue soared 53% year-over-year, offsetting a 12% decline in its much smaller payments and "other fees" segment, which includes the Oculus virtual-reality headset. Monthly active users, a key metric of engagement, increased 17% year-over-year to 1.86 billion. Shares of Facebook have climbed 3% in the past three months and nearly 16% in the past year. The S&P 500 has increased 18% in the past three months and 17.5% in the past year.

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