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Facebook Earnings: What a Difference Mobile Makes

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Investors had discovered that Facebook (FB - Free Report) had solved its "mobile problem" during its fiscal 2nd quarter of 2013. After the bell today, Facebook reported Q3 earnings, indicating further strength in its mobile business. The company posted a GAAP EPS of 17 cents per share on revenues of $2016 million in the quarter -- both of these figures outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimates.

Analysts has expected 13 cents per share and $1913 million in revenues, so count this as a 30.77% positive surprise on the bottom line on more than $100 million in sales than expected. This follows a 44.44% beat in the 2nd quarter, with its mobile business finally demonstrating traction. With the improved fortunes of Facebook's growth trajectories, there was some concern going into this quarter that increased costs may have been a headwind, but the company seems to have gotten past it.

Daily active users increased 25% and advertising revenue is up 66% year over year -- very likely further reflections on its positive mobile business. Ad revenue holds a similar key to the fortunes of firms like LinkedIn and even Yahoo and Google .

Streamlining those ads further -- and there were reports that some Facebook users have complained about targeted marketing campaigns not accurately addressing their wants -- may constitute further growth in coming quarters, based on advertisers paying potentially higher rates to get at their target markets more readily, even if Facebook membership grows at a more decelerated pace going forward.

For the December quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate is for Facebook to book $2200 million in sales. For this company, a Q4 holiday season doesn't really account for a lot of this -- FB's growth is more incremental. Today's press release did not include Q4 guidance, but this trajectory clearly supports healthy growth realizations for the company. Before users accessed Facebook on their mobile devices, this crucial issue was still in question. It doesn't seem to be anymore.

While the stock price trickled down in regular-day trading Tuesday before the announcement, FB shares have climbed over 9% in the after-market. This puts the stock up near its all-time highs of $54 and change, which it touched a couple weeks ago. You'll recall this was anything but the case back when Facebook went public, stumbling out of the gate and taking over a year to finally get back up to its IPO price.

From here right now, however, it appears the sky's the limit for Mark Zuckerberg & Co.

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