Facebook jumps after posting surge in user numbers
Facebook shares rose sharply, pushing its valuation above the likes of General Electric, a day after it posted surprisingly strong profit and revenue growth.
The company on Wednesday reported audience numbers that suggest it is poised to take on mainstream media as an advertising force, helping investors to overlook Facebook's huge spending on hiring and building data centres.
Shares in the company rose nearly 5pc, pushing the firm's market capitalisation towards $307bn.
Facebook now has 8bn video views per day from 500 million people, compared with 4bn views in April.
"In the medium to long run, we believe that we're not competing between Facebook and Instagram. We're competing with other forms of media," chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said. Facebook had 1.55 billion monthly active users as of September 30, up 14pc from a year earlier. Of these, 1.39 billon used the service on mobile devices.
"Growth is happening across the board and we're of course looking for a lot of growth in the future in emerging markets," Sandberg said. "We're also pretty focused on helping bring the next set of people who are not online, online."
Analysts had predicted 1.53 billion monthly active users, with 1.36 billon on mobile.
Ad revenue grew 45.4pc to $4.30bn, with 78pc of that coming from mobile versus 66pc in the year-ago quarter. Total revenue jumped to $4.50bn in the third quarter, from $3.20bn a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenue of $4.37bn.
Excluding items, Facebook earned 57 cents per share, ahead of analysts' average estimate of 52 cents per share.