Netflix Inc.'s stock shot up nearly 40% in early morning trading, fanned by domestic subscriber gains and revenue that exceeded Wall Street's expectations.
Shares of the online subscription service were trading at $142.86 Thursday, up substantially from Wednesday's closing price of $103.26.
The company gained 2 million new customers for its U.S. streaming service -- well above projections of 1.5 million -- as the growing popularity of Internet-connected televisions and tablets spurred demand for digitally delivered movies and TV shows.
"Netflix posted impressive [fourth-quarter] results that came in ahead of our estimates across nearly all metrics," wrote Barclays Internet and media analyst Anthony DiClemente in an investor note. "[First-quarter] guidance also implied upside to our estimates, as increased device penetration, coupled with the release of original programming, should help with subscriber acquisition."
Netflix will launch a widely anticipated original series, "House of Cards," on Feb. 1, and will offer new episodes of the canceled Fox series "Arrested Development" in May.