Google’s premature release, pending a Larry quote, upends tech stocks

October 18, 2012
Mobile Web
October 18, 2012

There are red faces in Mountain View after search giant Google’s third-quarter earnings were accidentally released early just after 12:30 p.m. ET, instead of after the close of trading in New York.

It would have been embarrassing enough for the tech-savvy company to air its unfinished press release. (A line at the top reading “Pending Larry Quote,” presumably referred to filler expected from Google CEO Larry Page.) But to top it off, the earnings report itself was god-awful, sending the price of the stock tumbling 10% right after the report hit. Bloomberg reports that sales and profits missed analyst expectations. The Wall Street Journal notes that Motorola weighed heavily on the bottom line.

Given the gravity that Google exerts on the rest of the technology sector, other stocks — such as Facebook — also followed lower. So did RR Donnelley, the financial publishing firm that Google called out for releasing the financial documents prematurely.

While the steep drop in Google’s share price is stunning, it’s worth pointing out that the shares have been on a tear for the last few months. Through the close of trading Wednesday it was up 17%, and since mid-July it’s up more than 30%.

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