Google Earnings Fallout Affects Tech Sector

Google's bad day started Thursday with its printer accidentally releasing its earnings report several hours early -- and gave Wall Street enough time to throw itself into a panic at the tech titan's lower-than-expected quarterly earnings.

While Google's earnings fell below Wall Street expectations and brokerages scrambled to unload stock, some analysts were more forgiving because the search engine showed that its mobile advertising revenue grew from an annualized rate of $2.5 billion in 2011 to $8 billion this year, according to Reuters. However, it also showed that its core Internet ad business was slowing -- it was only 17 percent year-over-year, the first time it has been under 20 percent since 2009.

Chief executive Larry page apologized for the "scramble" earlier Thursday involving the printer, but was quick to accentuate the positive. “We had a strong quarter. Revenue was up 45 percent year-on-year, and, at just fourteen years old, we cleared our first $14 billion revenue quarter,” Page said Google's earnings call. “Not bad for a teenager.”  

 Google also reported reported third-quarter net income fell 20 percent year-over-year, missing both profit and sales projections. The early release from printer R.R. Donnelley didn't help and Google shares dropped 8 percent and affected other tech stocks, such as Facebook. (That's because Wall Street tends to think less-than-stellar earnings infects whole sectors.) Net income was $2.18 billion compared with $2.73 billion last year and revenue was  $11.3 billion, below the $11.9 billion expected by a survey of analysts. 

 In real life terms, this all means very little. But Wall Street likes to think it can calculate risk, which is why 17 percent growth is considered a bad thing - only because it's used to 20 percent growth. 
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