Google (GOOG) Earnings Leaked, Stock Plummets

Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) third-quarter earnings were leaked a few hours before their scheduled release today. Chances are the search-engine giant’s higher-ups wish its earnings could have remained under wraps indefinitely.

Google reported earnings of $9.03 per share, well below the $10.65 per share most analysts were expecting. The earnings miss has sent Google shares into a tailspin – the stock is down 68 points, or 9%, in mid-day trading. That has pushed shares below $700 for the first time in over a month.

So what happened? Motorola Mobility, which Google bought out recently, suffered significant losses that weighed heavily on the company’s overall profits. It posted an operating loss of $527 million last quarter.

As for the early earnings release, it appears to have been a mistake. The report was listed on the SEC website, with a note that said, “Pending Larry Quote.” That likely refers to Google’s CEO, Larry Page.

The weaker-than-expected earnings are a rare setback for a stock that has been on fire of late. The stock is up 19% since mid-July, and crossed the $700 mark last month for the first time since late 2007.

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