Google Shares Plunge on Early Release of Earnings Data

Google Logo NEW - H 2012

Google Logo NEW - H 2012

UPDATED: Trading was halted and the tech giant blamed its printer for disclosing information earlier than expected.

Google accidentally released quarterly earnings that were below the expectations of analysts Thursday morning, causing its shares to plunge 10 percent before trading was halted.

Google had been set to disclose its earnings after the closing bell, but a document with the line "PENDING LARRY QUOTE," a reference to CEO Larry Page, mistakenly hit the internet early.

"Earlier this morning, RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization," Google said in a written statement. "We have ceased trading on NASDAQ while we work to finalize the document. Once it's finalized, we will release our earnings, resume trading on NASDAQ and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 p.m PT."

Finalized or not, Google's earnings did not impress investors. Before trading was halted, the stock dropped $68.19 to $687.30. Trading resumed later, the stock ended the day down 89 percent to $695.

Google garnered revenue, minus traffic-acquisition costs, of $11.3 billion during the quarter while Wall Street was looking for $11.9 billion. The company posted $9.03 in earnings-per-share after certain items, but Wall Street expected $10.65.

After the closing bell, Page began a conference call with analysts by apologizing for the accidental early release of data.

"I am sorry for the scramble earlier today. As our printers have said, they hit 'send' on the release just a bit early," Page said, before launching into a mostly upbeat presentation about the quarter, despite the opinion of investors and analysts who were clearly underwhelmed by the results.

Google reported GAAP revenue of $14.1 billion, up 45 percent year-over-year, and net income that fell 20 percent to $2.2 billion.

Much of the shortfall -- from the perspective of analysts and investors -- can be blamed on cell-phone maker Motorola Mobility, which Google purchased in May for $12 billion. A stronger dollar also hurt results as Google does increasingly more business overseas, and the price customers pay per-click to advertise with Google also fell, though many expected that to be the case.

"Revenue was up 45 percdent year-on-year and, at just 14 years old, we cleared our first $14 billion revenue quarter. Not bad for a teenager," Page boasted during the conference call.

Later during the call, Page said YouTube is continuing to "grow like crazy," and he touted a video he called "Gangnam Style," which has been viewed more than 500 million times. Click here to view PSY's "Gangnam Style" video.