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Google shares hit high as earnings beat expectations

Google's third-quarter financial performance beat analysts' expectations, sending shares to a new high Thursday.
Google's third-quarter financial performance beat analysts' expectations, sending shares to a new high Thursday. Marcio Jose Sanchez

Google beat Wall Street's revenue and profit expectations as its advertising business expanded, while losses deepened at its Motorola mobile phone business.

Shares, which are up around 24 percent this year, rose more than 5 percent in after-hours trading Thursday to a new high, topping $948 a share. The previous high was $924.30, set on July 15.

The world's No.1 Web search engine said that its Internet business delivered net revenue, which excludes fees paid to partners, of $10.8 billion in the third quarter, up 23 percent from $8.76 billion in the year-ago period.

"They were able to grow their revenue pretty substantially, particularly in their own websites, in spite of having lower overall ad prices," said JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey.

Google said that paid clicks increased 26 percent during the three months that ended Sept. 30 compared with the same period a year ago, while the average cost-per-click— the price that marketers pay Google when consumers click on their ads — decreased 8 percent.

"That's the key story, their ad volume growth is outpacing the decline (of) cost per clicks," Josey said.

Net income rose 36 percent to $2.97 billion, or $8.75 a share, in the third quarter from $2.18 billion, or $6.53 a share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding items, Google said earnings rose to $10.74 per share. Revenue increased 12 percent to $14.89 billion from $13.3 billion a year ago.

Analysts had expected Google to report earnings excluding items of $10.34 a share on $14.79 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

The operating loss at Motorola, Google's mobile phone business, totaled $248 million during the third quarter, compared to a loss of $192 million in the third quarter of 2012. 

Internationally generated revenue represented 56 percent of the total revenue, up from last year's 53 percent.

Earlier this week, Google's rival Yahoo reported a slight dip in its revenue as display-ad revenue has been under pressure.