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Google Sales Fail to Impress; Shares Fall

Updated from Thursday, Jan. 21

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG - Get Report) shares were trading lower in premarket trading Friday after reporting solid but less-than-resounding sales in the fourth quarter.

The Internet search giant Thursday posted adjusted earnings of $6.79 a share, up from the $5.10 pro forma profit in the year-ago quarter and well above analysts' estimates calling for an adjusted profit of $6.50 a share, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Sales for the fourth quarter ended last month were $4.95 billion excluding $1.72 billion in traffic acquisition costs. The top line was up 17% from the $4.22 billion level last year and only slightly better than the $4.9 billion in revenue analysts were looking for.

"Given that the global economy is still in the early days of recovery, this was an extraordinary end to the year," Google chief Eric Schmidt said in a press release Thursday.

Google's premarket shares were trading hands Friday at $561.49. On Thursday, the stock fell 40 cents, or 0.07%, to $582.58 in after-hours trading as investors continued to sell tech names in reaction to largely positive earnings performances.

The latest stock drop adds to Google's swoon. After hitting $629 at the start of the year, Google has dropped 6% in three weeks amid a broad market selloff. After the stock posted a 94% gain last year, Google's current stock slide sets a troubling start for 2010.

-- Reported by Scott Moritz in New York.

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