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Facebook 4Q results soar as mobile revenue grows

NEW YORK -- Mobile advertising accounted for more than half of Facebook's total ad revenue in the final quarter of last year, a sign that the social network born a decade ago in the desktop computer era is succeeding in its goal of being “mobile first.”

Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB) earnings and revenue handily surpassed Wall Street's expectations for the third quarter in a row as it further expand the number of users and the amount of money it makes on mobile ads.

Facebook Inc. said Wednesday that it earned $523 million, or 20 cents per share, in the October-December quarter. That's up from $64 million, or 3 cents per share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $780 million, or 31 cents per share, in the latest quarter, 4 cents ahead of analysts' estimates.

Revenue grew 63 percent to $2.59 billion, from $1.59 billion. Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $2.35 billion, according to FactSet.

Facebook's stock rose more than 8 percent in extended trading after the results came out.

Facebook, which turns 10 years old next week, had 1.23 billion monthly users worldwide at the end of 2013. Of those, 757 million signed in at least once a day, up 22 percent from a year earlier.

Monthly mobile users stood at 945 million, up 39 percent. Daily mobile users grew 49 percent to 556 million.

“It was a great end to the year for Facebook,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We're looking forward to our next decade and to helping connect the rest of the world.”

Facebook continues to grow its share of the worldwide digital advertising and within that, mobile advertising market. It reaped nearly 6 percent of the world's digital ad revenue in 2013, up from 4 percent in 2012, according to research firm eMarketer. Online search leader Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), meanwhile, accounted for a 32 percent share of the market in 2013.

Facebook's stock jumped $4.33 to $57.86 in extended trading. The stock had closed the regular trading session down $1.61, or 2.9 percent, at $53.53 before the earnings announcement.

Through Wednesday's close, the stock has gained 51 percent in the past six months, far more than the 6.4 percent increase for the Standard & Poor's 500 index, which the Menlo Park, Calif., company recently joined.

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