Surprise: Google’s Early 3Q Results Trigger Steep Selloff

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Google (GOOG) tumbled as much as 10 percent Thursday afternoon after the Internet giant surprised Wall Street by releasing hours ahead of schedule third-quarter results that badly missed estimates.

It’s not clear why Google’s results were posted in a regulatory filing early, but the weaker-than-expected top- and bottom-line figures threatened to leave the stock with its steepest one-day decline since the 2008 financial crisis.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company said it earned $2.18 billion, or $6.53 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $2.73 billion, or $8.33 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Google said it earned $9.03 a share, down from $9.72 a year earlier and well below the Street’s view of $10.65.

Revenue soared 45 percent to $14.10 billion. Excluding traffic acquisition costs, Google’s revenue was $11.3 billion, trailing consensus calls from analysts for $11.8 billion.

Wall Street punished Google for the big misses, driving its shares down 8.19 percent to $694.53 in recent trading. If Google’s shares close down at their lows with a 10 percent decline it would be their largest one-day drop since September 2008.

Google’s shares were halted pending news at about 12:52 p.m. ET.

Google’s management team didn’t weigh in on the results listed in the Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In place of management commentary was a space that said: “PENDING LARRY QUOTE,” hinting at Google CEO Larry Page and offering evidence that the results were released to the SEC prematurely.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on why its results were posted early.

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