Google reported its strongest quarter in several years, with revenue and earnings handily exceeding all expectations, driven by core search and momentum in display and mobile businesses.
Investors cheered the blowout results and the stock closed Friday up 13 percent, or $68.68, at $597.62 on Nasdaq.
For the second quarter, the Mountain View, California-based company earned $2.51 billion or $7.68 per share, up from $1.84 billion or $5.71 per share in the prior year quarter.
Excluding certain one-time items, it earned $8.74 per share, topping Wall Street expectations of $7.86 a share.
Excluding Traffic Acquisition Costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google's partners, revenues grew 36 percent to $6.92 billion Analysts expected revenue $6.55 billion, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Google's advertising revenues rose 33 percent to $8.72 billion and revenues from Google-owned sites increased 39 percent to $6.23 billion. Google's partner sites generated revenues, through AdSense programs, of $2.48 billion, representing a 20 percent increase from the second quarter of 2010.
As of June 30, 2011, Google had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities in excess of $39 billion.
Analysts hailed the results and praised Larry Page for his solid execution.
We consider this very strong and believe it reflects strong growth in core search and momentum in display and mobile, Pacific Crest Securities analyst Steve Weinstein wrote in a note to clients.
We think new CEO Larry Page did a solid job of answering investor questions and addressing concerns, RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler wrote in a note to clients.
Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) growth is broad-based, across core search, display, YouTube, and Mobile. Some of the newer products were singled out as generating momentum, including Android at 550k activations per day and Google+ at over 10 million registered users in its first two weeks.
The company added 2,452 employees in the second quarter. However, operating expenses per employee were slightly below expectations, which led to a fairly in line cost structure.
We expect aggressive but more-moderate hiring the remainder of the year, Weinstein said.
We think these circumstances should allow Google shares to move from the 10-15x earnings multiple range back up to the 15-20x range, analyst Sandler wrote in a note to clients.
As the Internet becomes more deeply integrated into daily life and as broadband becomes more widely adopted, search will become the primary way people find all types of information.
In addition, Internet searches provide an effective target for marketers to reach highly qualified prospects.
As the world's leading search engine, Google Inc. is well positioned to benefit from the continuing growth of search-engine marketing, Weinstein said.
Both analysts have outperform rating on the stock. Sandler raised his price target on Google stock to $790 from $680, while Weinstein has a price target of $800.