Holiday Shopping Season Boosts Google (GOOG) Earnings

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) beat analyst estimates today as the search-engine giant’s fourth-quarter earnings rose 7% from the previous year. An increase in online advertising revenue over the holidays was the primary catalyst behind Google’s improved earnings.

Google’s earnings beat has already pushed shares up 4.5% in after-hours trading.

Here are a few highlights from the company’s earnings call:

  • Revenue surged 36% from the previous year, and 8% from the previous quarter.
  • Paid clicks increased 24% – an indication of the company’s expanding advertising base.
  • The amount advertisers paid for those clicks fell 6% – the fifth consecutive quarter that the average click cost has declined.
  • The company hit $50 billion for the first time in 2012.
  • Google’s Motorola Mobility business – which the company purchased for $12.5 billion last May to improve its standing in the lucrative mobile market – lost $353 million for the quarter despite bringing in $1.51 billion in revenue.
  • Earnings excluding items of $10.65 per share outpaced analyst expectations of $10.42 a share.
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