Shares of AOL, the seventh most-visited Web site, leaped as much as 16.5 percent Wednesday after reporting improved financial results bolstered by a rise in display advertising.

The gain for AOL contrasted with performance by some of its rivals, notably Yahoo, which last month reported a nearly 21 percent revenue decline.

In late trading, AOL shares were at $17.79, up $1.58 or nearly 10 percent, after hitting an intra-day of $18.89.

New York-based AOL reported fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations of 42 cents a share, way ahead of analyst expectations of 32 cents. On a net basis, though, income dropped 65 percent to $22.8 million, or 23 cents, as revenue fell 3 percent to $576.8 million.

The owner of AOL mail as well as popular news sites including Huffington Post and TechCrunch, competitors of International Business Times, reported display ad sales rose 10 percent as revenue from Internet-based services fell 18 percent.

CEO Tim Armstrong, a former Google Senior VP for sales, told investors AOL's Internet services might post higher sales this year. I would say it's a stretch but we're going to stretch to get there, he said.

Other improvements were reported by AOL's Patch local-news sites, where traffic doubled; video services, where traffic increased at double-digit rates and in free cash flow, which rose 3 percent to reflect a 50 percent drop in capital expenditure.

AOL reported $407.5 million in cash on hand, about half the amount a year earlier.

AOL spun out of Time Warner in 2009. In 1999, a far bigger AOL acquired Time Warner, the publishing and media giant, in a deal valued then around $160 billion.

AOL's market value Wednesday was about $1.73 billion. Time Warner's market value was $37.85 billion.