Facebook Shares Climb on Quarterly Revenue Gains

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

The social network beat Wall Street's expectations by bringing in $5.8 billion during the fourth quarter.

Facebook's strong fourth quarter sent the social network's shares soaring during after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Facebook smashed analyst predictions with adjusted earnings of 79 cents per share. Revenue also came in higher than expected at $5.8 billion, up nearly 52 percent year-over-year. Advertising made up the bulk of Facebook's revenue, growing by 57 percent to $5.6 billion. 

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting adjusted earnings of 68 cents per share and revenue of $5.37 billion. Advertising revenue, meanwhile, was expected to grow by 45 percent to $5.2 billion.

The social network continued to grow its user base, which averaged 1.04 billion daily active users in December, a 17 percent increase from the same period last year. Average mobile daily active users came in at 934 million for December, up 25 percent year-over-year.  

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, fresh off paternity leave following the birth of his daughter, highlighted growth in areas including video and Instagram during a conference call with investors on Wednesday. He specifically pointed to video as an "important part of the Facebook experience" and said that 100 million hours of video are watched daily on the social network. 

Zuckerberg also touched on the upcoming launch of Oculus' virtual-reality headsets, noting that in the short term it will "be a big moment for the gaming community, but over the long term VR has the potential to change the way we live, work and communicate, as well." 

For the year, Facebook reported a net income of $3.69 billion on revenue of $17.93 billion, up 44 percent year-over-year.  

Facebook shares closed Wednesday down nearly 3 percent, or $2.89, to $94.45. Shares were up as much as 13 percent during after-hours trading on the Nasdaq.