Alphabet Shares Jump as Google Parent Beats Q4 Estimates

The stock boost on strong earnings could make Alphabet world’s most valuable company

Alphabet sailed beyond Wall Street expectations in fourth-quarter results released Monday, lifting its stock as the search giant tries to unseat Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

Shares rose 5.6 percent to $813.91 in after-hours trading. Should they trade at level during normal hours, Google’s total market value would be nearly $560 billion, surpassing Apple’s nearly $535 billion as of Monday’s close.

Alphabet, the holding company of search giant Google since it reorganized in August, broke out results from specific businesses for the first time in the latest quarter.

The core Google business, which includes search and YouTube, revenue increased 20 percent, while operating profit climbed 23 percent to $23.425 billion.

Google’s other arm with more emerging businesses, what it calls “other bets” like high-speed internet service Fiber, reported $448 million in revenue, a big boost but still a sliver of the core business’ sales of $74.541 billion. Its loss widened to $3.567 billion. 

Overall in the latest period, Alphabet reported a profit of $4.923 billion, or $7.06 a share, compared with $4.675 billion, or $6.79 a year earlier. Excluding certain expenses, the company said earnings would have been $8.67 a share, compared with the $8.10 a share that analysts estimated on average.

Total revenue 18 percent to $21.329 billion. The consensus estimate was for $20.767 billion.

Alphabet said the number of paid clicks on the websites it owns jumped 40 percent versus the year-ago quarter. The average amount advertisers paid for each click continued to slip, falling 16 percent.

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