Yahoo Japan Corp. jumped the most since 2013 after quarterly earnings beat estimates on strong growth in advertising and online shopping from smartphones.
Shares surged as much as 17 percent intraday in Tokyo and hit their daily upper price limit. They were 15 percent higher as of 10:35 a.m. — adding about $3.4 billion in market value.
Operating income in the quarter through December was 51.8 billion yen ($460 million), compared with the 49.5 billion yen average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales were 221.4 billion yen, above analyst expectations for 219.5 billion yen.
The strong results come amid the company’s continued push into smartphones, which accounted for more than half of all advertising revenue for the first time in its history. Online shopping through its auction service also helped thanks to tighter cost controls and higher spending by users. Its financial services business, which settles online transactions and provides credit cards, also performed better than analysts expected.
“Almost all businesses such as ads, paid membership, shopping and credit card were well-managed and provided positive surprises,” Naoshi Nema, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald, wrote in a Feb. 4 report where he upgraded his outlook. “We were relatively pessimistic on its future potential but we now change our view and believe its sustainable growth.”
Nema upgraded his price target to 660 yen per share from 400 yen, while boosting his outlook to overweight from neutral. Nomura Holdings Inc. also increased its price target to 640 yen from 590 yen.
The company operates one of Japan’s most popular websites and provides everything from news aggregation to shopping through its auction platform. Monthly active users grew 16 percent from a year ago to 37.3 million, representing about a third of Japan’s population.
Yahoo Japan counts SoftBank Group Corp. as its largest shareholder, with 36.38 percent of outstanding shares, according to Bloomberg data. Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo! Inc. is the second-largest, with 35.57 percent.