Google ( GOOG) shares plunged on Thursday as an earnings release gaffe, componded by bad numbers, shocked Wall Street. An accidental leak during the middle of the day caused Google's earnings press release to hit the wires hours early at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Google blamed its printer, R.R. Donnelly ( RRD) for the mistake. Third-quarter earnings were below Wall Street's expectations. Google earned $9.03 a share on $11.33 billion in revenue, excluding results from Motorola. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were looking for Google to earn $10.65 a share on $11.86 billion in revenue for the third quarter, up from $9.72 a share on sales of $7.51 billion 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. Wall Street analysts were expecting cost-per-click (CPC), a key metric for ads, to bottom out this quarter. That didn't happen. Google said CPC fell 15% year over year, and 3% quarter over quarter. The Internet search giant is having a tougher time than many expected monetizing mobile, as the world increasingly uses devices like tablets and smartphones. Google shares fell 8.4% this week to close at $681.79.
Intel ( INTC) beat already lowered earnings expectations, but the company's guidance spooked investors, as mobile concerns continue to weigh. The No. 1 chipmaker has struggled to gain a foothold in smartphones and tablets, as ARM-based competitors take market share. The Dow component posted third-quarter net income of 58 cents a share on revenue of $13.5 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of 49 cents a share on revenue of $13.23 billion. For the fourth quarter, Intel expects revenue of $13.6 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Non-GAAP gross margins are expected to be between 57% and 58%, plus or minus a couple of percentage points. The top-line view is slightly below the $13.74 billion in sales analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect. Shares of Intel declined 1% this week to close at $21.26.
IBM ( IBM) dropped sharply after the company reported weak third-quarter revenue, citing a business slowdown toward the end of the quarter. Excluding items, IBM earned $3.62 a share on $24.75 billion in revenue, down from $26.16 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts on Wall Street were expecting $3.61 a share on $25.36 billion in revenue. IBM reiterated its outlook for non-GAAP 2012 earnings per share of at least $15.10. "We started the first two months on a stronger trajectory -- we saw a fall off in the third month of the quarter," said IBM CFO Mark Loughridge. "Geographically, we saw a fall off in North America and our growth markets." Shares of IBM fell 7.0% this past week to finish at $193.36.
Telecom had a busy week, with earnings from Verizon ( VZ) and a deal for Sprint ( S). Verizon earned 64 cents a share on revenue of $29 billion during the third quarter, in line with consensus estimates. The company said it activated 651,000 iPhone 5s during the quarter. Sprint received a majority investment from Japanese firm Softbank, as the No. 3 wireless provider in the U.S. continues its battle for market share. Softbank is paying $20.1 billion to acquire a 70% stake in Sprint. Softbank will buy $8 billion of shares directly from Sprint and then another $12.1 billion of shares in the open market, according to the joint statement released by the companies. Sprint will use the proceeds to continue building out its 4G network and drive its Network Vision strategy forward. Network Vision aims to consolidate multiple network technologies into one network, with the goal of "increasing efficiency and enhancing network coverage, call quality and data speeds." Sprint shares slipped 1.4% this week to close out at $5.65, while Verizon added 1.2% to close at $45.16.
Next week will be another extraordinarily busy one for tech, with Apple holding its product event on Oct. 23 and reporting earnings on Oct. 25. We'll also see earnings from Facebook ( FB), Yahoo! ( YHOO), Juniper ( JNPR), Amazon.com ( AMZN), and Texas Instruments ( TXN), among others. Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Interested in more on Apple? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >Contact by Email. Follow @Commodity_Bull