Google stunned Wall Street last night after its latest results – announced early by mistake – revealed weaker-than-expected sales and profits.
Shares in the company, which had only recently overtaken Microsoft to become the second-largest US technology company by market capitalisation, slumped by more than 9 per cent on the news.
Google, which has been struggling to turn around a loss-making Motorola Mobility it bought for $12.5 billion (£7.75bn), reported a 20 per cent dive in third-quarter net income to $2.18bn.
Excluding certain items, it earned $9.03 a share, significantly underperforming the $10.65 analysts had expected, on average. Net revenue rose to $11.3bn from $7.5bn, but was still below forecasts.
Trading in the company’s shares was halted temporarily after the latest financial results were released.
In a statement, Google said that financial printer RR Donnelley had filed the draft earnings statement, which had been expected after the US markets closing bell, early, without authorisation.
The press release, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, says “pending Larry quote” at the beginning, referring to Google chief executive Larry Page and suggesting that it was not ready for publication and was released by mistake.
The statement did not include any comments on the reasons for the slump in profits.
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