Facebook stock hits all-time highs on strong earnings

Facebook stock jumped to record highs Thursday as strong earnings from the leading social network sparked fresh buying.

The shares closed up 5.2 percent at $74.98, well above the record of $72.03 hit on March 10. The rise lifted Facebook’s market value to some $190 billion.

Facebook said Wednesday that profits leapt to $791 million during the three months ended June 30, a 138 percent increase from a year earlier.

Revenue in the quarter surged to $2.91 billion, with approximately 62 percent of that money coming from ads served up on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablet computers.

Ad revenues overall were up 67 percent from a year ago to $2.68 billion.

The number of people who visited the online social network at least once a month climbed to 1.32 billion in a 14 percent rise from the same quarter last year, according to Facebook. The number of active users on mobile devices rose to 1.07 billion.

“It was a very impressive quarter on top of what we believe were very high (Wall) Street expectations,” said Paul Vogel, analyst at Barclays.

“We continue to rate Facebook ‘overweight’ and our top pick as we believe there is still plenty of room for numbers to move higher over the next few quarters.”

The market was also encouraged by signs that people remain “engaged” on Facebook, with American users spending some 40 minutes per day on the social network on average.

“User growth remains robust, while engagement continues to increase,” said RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney in a note to clients.

“The most important Internet trend by far is mobile, and Facebook has become a mobile company.”

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