Alphabet Earnings Driven by Surging Revenues at Google

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Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) reported first-quarter 2017 results after markets closed Thursday. The search engine behemoth reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $7.73 on revenues of $24.75 billion. In the year-ago quarter, Alphabet posted EPS of $6.02 on revenues of $20.26 billion. Analysts were estimating EPS of $7.40 on revenues of $24.22 billion.

The Google segment posted revenues of $24.51 billion, up from $20.1 billion a year ago. Operating income rose from $6.25 billion to $7.6 billion. The operating loss on other (Bets) revenues totaled $885 million, up from $774 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues at Google websites rose 21.5% to $17.4 billion and Google Network revenues rose 8.6% to $4.01 billion. Ad revenues rose 18.8% to $21.41 billion. Because Alphabet does not break out the source of advertising revenues by desktop vs. mobile, it’s a little hard to draw any conclusion other than an 18% increase is solid.

Traffic acquisition costs paid to Google Network members remained flat at 70% of Network revenues, or $2.82 billion. Payments to distribution partners totaled $1.8 billion, about 10% of websites revenues. Total traffic acquisition costs rose from $3.79 to $4.63 billion, or 22% of Google ad revenues.

Paid clicks on Google websites were up 53% year over year and up 1% sequentially. Paid clicks on the Network members sites were up 10% year over year and 6% sequentially. Aggregate cost per click fell 19% compared with the year-ago quarter and was down 4% sequentially.

Net income for the quarter totaled $5.43 billion, up 29% year over year.

Alphabet did not provide a forecast, but the consensus second-quarter estimates call for EPS of $8.08 on revenues of $25.33 billion. For the full year, analysts forecast EPS of $33.33 on revenues of $106.31 billion.

Shares traded up about 3.3% at $921.30 in after-hours trading. The 52-week range is $672.66 to $893.38, a level set in Thursday’s regular trading session. Shares closed Thursday at $891.44. The consensus 12-month price target was $979.90 before the earnings report.