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What's happening: Shares of Proto Labs (NYSE:PRLB) soared as much as 20% Thursday after the quick-turn manufacturer announced record fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 earnings.

Why it's happening: In the fourth quarter, Proto Labs' revenue grew by 27.3% year over year to $56.1 million, translating to $0.39 in earnings per share, or $0.43 on an adjusted basis. These figures came in slightly above Wall Street expectations for Proto Labs to close out the fourth quarter with $54.6 million in revenue and $0.42 in adjusted earnings.

Across its manufacturing services, Proto Labs reported a 40% year-over-year increase in the number of unique product developers it served during the quarter, which suggests the company's rapid manufacturing services remain a compelling value proposition in the marketplace. Excluding the company's recent acquisition of 3D printing service bureau Fineline, Proto Labs' legacy Firstcut CNC machining and Protomold injection molding manufacturing services served 20.3% more product developers during the quarter than they did in the year-ago period.

During the earnings conference call, Proto Labs issued its first-quarter 2015 revenue and earnings guidance, and the midpoints of its ranges came in above what the Street expected. For the first quarter, Proto Labs expects to generate $56.5 million to $59.5 million in revenue and to take home $0.43 to $0.47 per share in earnings. Prior to the guidance release, Wall Street analysts had expected Proto Labs to generate $57.8 million in revenue and $0.39 per share in earnings in the first quarter.