Google stock slips after 4Q report

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Google reported fourth-quarter earnings that slightly missed some analysts' expectations, and the stock was sent lower in after-hours trading Thursday.

Executives, though, cautiously noted that they see no evidence of a sinking U.S. economy or a slackening demand for Internet advertising, though CFO George Reyes acknowledged that "social networking inventory is not monetizing as well as expected."

Some observers took that to mean that Google hasn't yet figured out a particularly profitable way to push advertising on MySpace users. Google struck a multiyear deal with MySpace, owned by News Corp., in August 2006 that includes $900 million in "guaranteed minimum revenue share payments" ending in the middle of 2010.

Google also owns YouTube, also by some definitions a social networking play. Google co-founder Sergey Brin noted on a conference call with analysts Thursday that the YouTube presidential debates boasted nearly as many YouTube viewers as CNN viewers.

Google shares, which advanced 3% during the regular session Thursday, slumped as much as 8% in after-hours trading, putting the stock down nearly 25% so far this year.
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