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Google Grooves on Big Quarter

Updated from Feb. 1

Google (GOOG - Get Report) shares jumped almost 13% Wednesday morning after the Internet search-engine kingpin posted a blowout fourth quarter.

For its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the Mountain View, Calif., company earned $204 million, or 71 cents a share, up from the year-ago $27 million, or 10 cents a share. So-called net revenue, excluding the fees the company pays its search-engine advertising partners, jumped to $654 million from $503 million in the third quarter.

In premarket trading Wednesday, Google was up $24.16 to $216.06, an all-time high for the stock.

Using the road map laid out by Google to exclude the costs of stock-based compensation, as Wall Street analysts prefer to, Google earned 87 cents a share in the latest quarter. The Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate had the company making 77 cents a share.

"Google had an exceptional quarter. Revenues and profits increased significantly, our execution was solid across the company and most importantly, our relationship with our users, partners and advertisers became even stronger," said CEO Eric Schmidt. "All of this happened while we continued to innovate, expand around the world and make strategic, long-term investments."

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which analysts had expected to come in at $368 million, was $425 million.

From the third to the fourth quarter, advertising revenue grew 32% on a net basis and 28% on a gross basis, well above the high-teens organic growth that analysts calculated for Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report) over the same period.

On a conference call with analysts, Google Chief Financial Officer George Reyes said the company benefited from strong holiday traffic growth and the addition of new partners to the Google Network, or the third-party sites running Google's ads. The company gained AOL Europe -- formerly a Yahoo! partner -- as an affiliate in mid-November.
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