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Facebook expected to show 40 percent sales growth as stock reaches record high

  • Facebook third-quarter revenue is expected to climb 40 percent to $9.84 billion, based on the average estimate of Wall Street analysts who cover the stock
  • Per-share earnings are seen at $1.28 a share, up from $1.09 for the same period in 2016, based on Thomson Reuters data
  • Despite getting heat in Washington, Facebook shares were bid to a record intraday high of $182.69 in Wednesday morning trading
Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Founder and CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg

Wall Street is expecting Facebook to show a revenue rise of 40 percent from a year ago, though profit is projected to rise more slowly as the company again hired more workers and invested in new technologies.

Revenue is expected to climb to $9.84 billion for the period, from $7.01 billion a year earlier, based on the average estimate of Wall Street analysts who cover the stock.

Per-share earnings for the quarter are expected at $1.28, up from $1.09 a share for the same period in 2016, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Facebook's ability to target digital ads at users based on their "likes" and other online behavior is effective enough that some in Congress want to regulate its ability to target political ads.

Yet even as Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch is getting grilled in front of committees in both chambers of Congress over the company's role in last year's election, stock buyers bid the company's shares to a record intraday high of $182.69 early Wednesday.

Stretch on Tuesday mentioned that Facebook expects to double the number of people working on security and community-related issues from 10,000 today to more than 20,000 by the end of next year. Those hires could raise expenses, although many will probably be contractors. Facebook has just more than 20,000 full-time employees.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Wehner are expected to conduct a conference call with investors and analysts after the close of U.S. markets to discuss third-quarter results.