Shares of Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), the worldâ€™s largest Internet search provider, rose in Friday trading after beating analystsâ€™ estimates with a 69 percent jump in first quarter profit.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based firm posted a net income of $1 billion for its fiscal first-quarter, sending shares up $16.08, or 3.4 percent to $487.73 in Friday afternoon trading.
Excluding options costs, the company's net income was $3.68 a share, which exceeded the $3.30 analysts were expecting, according to a poll from Thomson Financial. Revenue for the quarter rose 63 percent to reach $3.66 billion, compared to $2.25 billion in the year ago period.
We are ecstatic about our financial results this past quarter, Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt said in a conference call with analysts after the results were released.
Technological innovation remains a main differentiator for paid click advertising revenue at Google, according to Merrill Lynch's Justin Post. The research analyst told clients Friday morning that paid click sales growth of 52 percent year-over-year and 13 percent growth for the quarter sequentially â€œsuggest healthy search traffic and continued sponsored ad relevancy improvements.
He remained positive on Googleâ€™s ability to gain traffic share, noting that aggressive research and development along with capital expenditures were proving to be competitive differentiators.
The company was already leading rivals with 3.5 billion search queries performed in March alone. Yahoo was second, with 2.0 billion, and Microsoft Sites took third place with 798 million, according to comScore Networks.
We believe Google will continue to take share in an attractive market, and the companyâ€™s technology strengths will lead to new opportunities in traditional media, payment processing and on-demand software.
Merrill Lynch reiterated its Buy rating, and raised its price objective to $590 from $560 for the year.