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TheStreet Open House

Google Crushed as Earnings Miss Badly (Update 4)

Updated from 2:27 p.m. EST to include CEO Larry Page comments in the third paragraph, latest share price.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Google (GOOG) shares resumed trading late in Thursday's session after an extended halt following the accidental early release of the company's third-quarter results during market hours.

The actual third-quarter numbers were well below Wall Street's expectations, sending the stock down nearly 9% before trading was halted. The company has now press release, and shares are trading once again, last quoted down 7.4% at $699.32.

The earnings leak was clearly a major mistake, as evidenced by the phrase "PENDING LARRY QUOTE" at the top of the press release contained in the original Form 8-K filing.

The official press release now contains this quote from CEO Larry Paige: "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. I am also really excited about the progress we're making creating a beautifully simple, intuitive Google experience across all devices."

But the numbers tell a different story, at least as far as the sell-side analysts covering the company are concerned.

Third-quarter earnings came in at $9.03 per share on $11.33 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for Google to earn $10.65 a share on $11.862 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up from $9.72 a share on $7.51 billion in sales in the year-ago quarter. Last year's results, however, do not factor in Google's acquisition of Motorola, which was completed in May of this year.

Foreign exchange headwinds continued to impact revenue. Revenues would've been higher by $136 million had they remained constant from last quarter, and $557 million higher if they were constant year-over-year.

Wall Street analysts were expecting cost-per-click (CPC), a key metric for ads to bottom out this quarter. That hasn't happened. Google said CPC fell 15% year-over-year, and 3% quarter-over-quarter.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster put out a quick note on the report, saying the core performance was weaker-than-anticipated. "The miss appears to be on the core search side as Google sites revenue was up 2.5% q/q after being up an average of 8% q/q the past two years," Munster wrote. He noted that mobile monetization again becomes a key concern, as CPC rates continued to decline from the previous quarter. He rates Google "overweight" with an $834 price target.

Stock-based compensation rose from last year, climbing to $762 million, up from $572 million in 2011. The company ended the quarter with 53,546 full-time employees (including Motorola), compared to 54,604 full-time employees as of June 30, 2012. At the end of the quarter, the company had $45.7 billion in cash.

Google, which has reportedly blamed R.R. Donnelley (RRD) for the leak, plans to hold its conference call at 4:30 p.m. ET, as previously planned. TheStreet's live blog covering the call is slated to start at 3.45 p.m.

Interested in more on Google? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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