Facebook Surges on Huge Q4 Beat

Updated from 4:18 p.m. to include additional analysis in the third paragraph and updated share price.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) Facebook (FB) shares surged 8.3% to $57.96 after the world's largest social network reported fourth-quarter earnings that blew past Wall Street expectations.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based social network earned 31 cents per share on $2.59 billion in revenue, as advertising revenue jumped 76% year-over-year to $2.34 billion. Facebook's mobile ad revenue accounted for 53% of advertising revenue, and revenue from other segments, including payments, was $241 million. Europe continued to be a huge area of expansion for Facebook, as revenue went from $538 million in the third-quarter to $727 million, up 25% sequentially.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for 27 cents per share on $2.33 billion in revenue.

"It was a great end to the year for Facebook," said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO in a statement. "We're looking forward to our next decade and to helping connect the rest of the world." Facebook is holding a conference call at 5 p.m. to discuss the results.

Facebook ended the quarter with 1.23 billion monthly active users (MAUs), with more than 757 million daily active users (DAUs), up 22% year over year. Mobile continues to be a big driver for the company, and the company ended the quarter with 945 million MAUs, including 556 million DAUs, up 49% year over year.

Each U.S. and Canadian user drove $6.03 in average revenue for Facebook, up from $4.85 in the third quarter. The next highest region is Europe, at $2.61 in average revenue per user (ARPU).

At the end of the quarter, Facebook had $11.45 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

Shares finished the regular session lower, falling 1.6% to close at $53.53.

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