Facebook shares flying high after strong growth prospect of its digital ad business in future

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares climbed to a new 52-week high of $194.00 on Thursday morning after the social network giant said that its digital ad business would continue growing in the future. The company also announced its financial results for the fourth quarter.

The Menlo Park, California-based company’s revenue climbed 47 percent in the latest quarter, versus the same period last year. FB shares initially plummeted more than 4 percent in the after-hours trading session on Wednesday after reporting that time spent by users decreased by nearly 50 million hours a day at the end of last year. However, CEO  Mark Zuckerberg said during the conference call that he want to be clear that the most critical driver for the company’s business has never been the time spent by itself, but the quality of the conversations and connections.

Separately, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said the recent changes to limit disinformation on the world’s biggest social network could result in more monetization opportunities. Sandberg added that she is positive about potential revenue from advertisements on “stories” on Facebook and Instagram.

Seconding Sandberg’s statement, Chief Financial Officer David Wehner said the average price per ad jumped 43 percent in the fourth quarter.

Overall, the company posted revenue of $12.97 billion, up 47 percent from the prior year, and also above analysts’ average estimate of $12.55 billion. Net income for the fourth quarter surged $4.27 billion, or $1.44 per share, versus $1.21 per share in the same quarter, one year ago.

On an adjusted basis, FB earned $2.21 per share for the three-months period ended Dec. 31, as compared to $1.95 per share estimated by analysts.

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