Google shares jump on big profit increase

Google's nearly seven-fold profit increase in Q3 helps send stock flying higher.

Google shares surged on Friday, a day after the internet search engine giant reported a big increase in earnings.

Shares of the company (Nasdaq:GOOG) closed with a gain of $36.70 US at $339.90 US, up more than 12 per cent from Thursday's finish.

Google earned $381.2 million US ($1.32 a share) in the third quarter, up from $52 million US (19 cents a share) a year earlier. The prior year's results included a charge of $201 million US to cover a legal settlement with competitor Yahoo.

Factoring out charges for acquisitions and stock compensation, Google would have made $1.51 a share in the most recent quarter. Google's Q3 results easily beat market expectations. The consensus estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial was for the company to make $1.36 a share.

"We surprised ourselves this quarter," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt in an Associated Press interview.

Google's revenues also rocketed higher, climbing to $1.58 billion US from $805.9 million US a year earlier.

Shares of Google have almost quadrupled since they went public in August 2004 at $85 US.