Today: Google's (GOOG) stock price reaches highs it has never before seen in late trading following an earnings announcement that beat analysts' projections. Also: A raft of other Silicon Valley earnings reports.
The Lead: Google stock soars after earnings report shows booming profits
Google appears headed for its highest stock price on record after the search giant's quarterly earnings report showed a big jump in profits despite a decline in the amount received when users click on advertisements.
Google reported profits of $2.97 billion, or $8.75 a share, on revenues of $14.89 billion in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting profit growth of 36 percent and revenue growth of 12 percent from the same quarter in 2012. Both figures easily exceeded Wall Street projections, and Google's share price catapulted in after-hours trading: In the first hour after the markets closed and Google's report was released, shares sold for as much as $958.98, nearly 7 percent higher than the stock's closing price and well above Google's all-time intraday high of $928.
"Google continues to execute very well," Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian told Bloomberg News. "They are the preeminent Web-technology company."
Google is largely an advertising company: The Mountain View firm's advertising business accounted for $12.5 billion, or 91 percent, of revenues not attributed to Motorola Mobility, which had revenues of $1.1 billion, The amount of money Google makes each time a user clicks on an ad -- an important metric that has been falling for two years -- declined 8 percent, but that was easily countered by a 26 percent increase in the number of clicks Google received, which was credited to Google's advances in mobile and video advertisements.
"That's the key story, their ad volume growth is outpacing the decline cost per clicks," MP Securities analyst Ronald Josey told Reuters.
Google stock closed down 1 percent to $888.79, but seems headed for record prices in Friday's session; the company plans to split its stock, which would double the number of shares but split that price in half.
Several other SV150 companies joined Google in releasing earnings report Thursday, including Sunnyvale chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices. After landing placement in Microsoft and Sony's next-generation video-game consoles that are due out this year, AMD returned to profits in the third quarter, reporting earnings of $48 million, or 6 cents a share, on revenues of $1.46 billion. Though both of those numbers easily beat analysts' expectations, AMD stock still fell more than 8 percent at times in late trading after closing at $4.09, possibly due to concerns about AMD's fourth-quarter forecast.
Another Sunnyvale company, Intuitive Surgical, was not able to turn around its decline like AMD: The company continues to struggle to find new customers for its expensive surgical robots, selling 101 robots in the quarter after selling 155 in the same quarter last year. Intuitive Surgical saw revenues for maintenance and upgrades on the machines rise from last year, but profits fell 14 percent to $157 million, or $3.99 a share, and total revenues declined 7 percent to $499 million. Shares fell 7 percent after closing with a 0.6 percent decline at $399.13.
Smaller companies had stronger results. Foster City-based EFI, which plans a move to Fremont soon, earned $16.1 million, or 33 cents a share, on record third-quarter revenues of $178.8 million; shares gained slightly. San Jose's Align Technology, which makes the Invisalign system of oral products, earned $34.5 million, or 42 cents a share, on revenues of $164.5 million, a 20.5 percent year-over-year revenue increase; shares jumped more than 13 percent after closing with a 5.1 percent gain at $45.93. Oakland-based Zhone announced its fourth consecutive profitable quarter, earning $1.6 million, or 5 cents a share, on revenues of $31.5 million; the stock moved more than 20 percent higher after gaining 7.3 percent to $3.23 in regular trading.
SV150 market report: Wall Street enjoys end of D.C. gridlock, eBay falls
The Standard & Poor's 500 closed at a record high and the tech-heavy Nasdaq index hit its highest mark in 13 years Thursday after politicians finally wrapped up their latest standoff on Capitol Hill. A post-earnings meltdown from IBM kept the Dow from advancing, however, and the SV150 was hurt by a decline from eBay (EBAY).
eBay announced further growth in its Wednesday earnings report, but a cautious forecast for the current quarter, which includes the important holiday-shopping season, caused investors to push the stock down 4 percent to $51.38 Thursday. CEO John Donahoe said the projection was light because of uncertainty about the results of the federal shutdown, and the company announced an executive coup Thursday, stealing R.J. Pittman from Apple (AAPL) to help its Marketplaces division.
The reaction to SanDisk's earnings report was much cheerier: The Milpitas flash-storage company sold for its highest prices in more than seven years as analysts praised its second straight quarter of results that trumped projections. "These results show SanDisk is ahead of the curve, developing a more consistent and profitable business model vs. competitors, while offering investors a more enticing growth plus income profile," RBC Capital Markets analyst Doug Freedman wrote in a note. SanDisk stock closed with the highest percentage gain in the SV150, increasing 8.8 percent to $68.50.
Facebook established new all-time highs for intraday and closing prices Thursday, moving as high as $52.22 and closing with a 2.1 percent gain at $52.21 after announcing Wednesday afternoon that it would open public posting to teenagers. Foster City's Gilead Sciences (GILD) also reached record highs, gaining 2.6 percent to $67.36, and SolarCity's recent renaissance continued with a 3.3 percent gain to $54.09 as JP Morgan initiated coverage with the equivalent of a "Buy" rating, calling the San Mateo company's residential solar focus "a growth sweet-spot in the large solar PV market."
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Up +4, or 0.29 percent, to 1,364.52
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 23.72, or 0.62 percent, to 3,863.15
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 2.18, or 0.01 percent, to 15,371.65
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Up 11.61, or 0.67 percent, to 1,733.15
Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.