Why Zillow Group Inc. Stock Jumped 11.8% in 2017

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What happened

Shares of Zillow Group (NASDAQ: Z)(NASDAQ: ZG) climbed 11.8% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the company continued to benefit from the real estate industry's shift to online platforms.

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To be fair -- and keeping in mind Zillow stock also soared more than 40% in 2016 -- its rise last year wasn't exactly smooth.

In February, Zillow posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2016 results, capping what CEO Spencer Rascoff described as a "fantastic year" with new records for both annual revenue and site traffic. But Zillow stock plunged 8% the following day after the company's full-year 2017 profit outlook fell short of investors' expectations.

So what

According to management, that shortfall was "due to strategic investments and what [they] believe are conservative expectations for the revenue impact of several recently launched products." But it was still enough to temporarily bring profit-takers out of the woodwork.

Thankfully for bullish investors, Zillow all but recouped those losses in the ensuing weeks, with shares climbing nearly 14% in the month of April in anticipation of its first-quarter 2017 report. But even that rise wasn't enough; Zillow stock soared more than 10% the day after its Q1 results hit the wires, which showed significantly better-than-expected 36% growth from its core marketplace segment.

The roller coaster continued in August, however, with shares dropping as conservative guidance once again overshadowed a strong quarterly report.

Now what

Zillow clawed back some of its August losses, partly thanks to an equally impressive third-quarter report in November that saw an all-time high of over 187 million monthly average unique visitors. Make no mistake, more people continue to flock to Zillow's websites and apps to enjoy its latest features like 3D home tours and Zillow Instant Offers. The company also modestly increased its full-year guidance.

Zillow's latest outlook calls for full-year revenue to climb to a range of $1.068 billion to $1.073 billion, representing growth of nearly 27% at the midpoint.

But it's clear that Zillow has a habit of underpromising and overdelivering, so it remains to be seen whether it will beat that guidance when it releases fourth-quarter 2017 results early next month. In the meantime, though shares are still well below their 52-week high, I think investors should be pleased with where Zillow stands right now.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Zillow Group (A shares) and Zillow Group (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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