Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) beat analysts’ expectations earning $8.67 per Class A share on $21.33 billion in revenue (vs. $8.10 on $20.33 billion).

The earnings announcement came after the market's close. but GOOGL shares rose as much as 9% in after-hours trading, which should see the company hurdle Apple Inc. (AAPL) as the most valuable U.S. company. As it stands, Alphabet has almost as much cash on hand as Apple ($16.55B vs. $16.7B). (For more, see: Will Alphabet overtake Apple as No.1?)

Alphabet’s aggregate paid clicks (a key advertising measure) rose 31% from 2014. The consensus expectation was a 22% rise.

"Our very strong revenue growth in Q4 reflects the vibrancy of our business, driven by mobile search as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising, all areas in which we've been investing for many years," said Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat in a statement.

The results also mark a change in how Alphabet reports its financials, separating its core products (search, YouTube, cloud, Android) from its "Other Bets," such as life science business Verily, its Fiber Internet service and X (its R&D unit). Those Other Bets were big money losers.

Also announced in the earnings call was Alphabet's board approving a buyback of an additional 514,000 shares.

GOOGL shares gained some 40% in 2015 making it one of the best performers in the S&P 500 on the year.

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