Google earnings leak early, shares nosedive

Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK Google's (GOOG) stock plunged suddenly on Thursday afternoon after a contractor released the search company's third-quarter earnings report early, by mistake.

The stock fell $68.19, or 9 percent, to $687.30 before trading was halted to give investors a chance to digest the news. Google's report had been slated for release after the close of regular trading Thursday.

Google said printer R.R. Donnelley & Sons filed Google's quarterly statement early to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The printer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a regulatory filing, Google said it earned $2.18 billion, or $6.53 per share, during the three months ending in September. That compared with net income of $2.73 billion, or $8.33 per share, last year.

The earnings would have been $9.03 per share, if not for Google's accounting costs for employee stock compensation and restructuring charges related to the acquisition of Motorola. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $10.63 per share, on average.

Revenue climbed 45 percent from last year to $14.1 billion. Excluding compensation for websites that generate traffic for Google's ads, revenue was $11.33 billion. Analysts were expecting $11.5 billion.

"We had a strong quarter," said Google CEO Larry Page in a statement. "Revenue was up 45 percent year-on-year, and, at just 14-years-old we cleared our first $14 billion revenue quarter. I am also really excited about the progress we're making creating a beautifully simple, intuitive Google experience across all devices."

The strong dollar appeared to contribute to Google's miss. The company said that if foreign exchange rates had been stable, its revenue would have been $136 million higher.

Excluding this summer's acquisition of cellphone maker Motorola Mobility, Google's revenue rose 18 percent.

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