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Google parent Alphabet beats Q4 expectations, revenue up 32%

Google parent Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) reported its Q4 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday, beating analysts’ expectations on the top and bottom line, as revenue jumped 34% year-over-year. Alphabet also announced its board had approved a 20-for-1 stock split, which shareholders will vote on at their June 1 meeting.

Here are the most important numbers from the report compared to what Wall Street was expecting, as compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue ex-TAC [minus traffic acquisition costs]: $61.90 versus $59.3 billion expected.

Earnings per share: $30.69 versus $30.01 expected.

Google’s stock was up 5% following the announcement.

“Q4 saw ongoing strong growth in our advertising business, which helped millions of businesses thrive and find new customers, a quarterly sales record for our Pixel phones despite supply constraints, and our Cloud business continuing to grow strongly,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement.

Investors and analysts have been paying close attention to Alphabet’s advertising business, its chief revenue driver, as well as its up-and-coming cloud business.

Despite headwinds in the online advertising space from changes made to Apple’s (AAPL) iOS privacy settings, the company saw advertising revenue climb from $46.1 billion last year to $61.2 billion in the quarter.

While privacy changes Apple made to its iOS platform have dinged advertisers including Snap and Facebook parent Meta, Google has been less affected thanks to the sheer amount of data it collects via its own search and YouTube offerings.

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Alphabet’s Google Cloud growth has also been in the spotlight, as the company continues to plow money into the platform in an effort to steal market share from Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.

Cloud revenue for the quarter came in at $5.5 billion, up from $3.8 billion in Q4 2020. Operating losses for the segment also fell from $1.2 billion to $890 million.

While tech sector stocks have been especially volatile lately, shares of Alphabet have easily out-performed competitors’ stocks.

As of mid-day Tuesday, shares of Alphabet were up more than 47.8% in the last 12 months. That easily outstrips the broader S&P 500, which was up 22%. Shares of Microsoft, one of Alphabet’s biggest cloud rivals, were up 32%, while shares of Amazon were down 5.8%. Shares of Facebook — Alphabet’s largest competitor in the online advertising business — were up 23%.

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