Google goofs, stock halted, techs tank

Accidental earnings release causes havoc in markets, averages.

WASHINGTON, October 18, 2012 – Talk about “fat fingers!” Now even mighty Google has dropped beneath waves due to a simple human error: the printing giant involved with putting out the physical and web-available copies of Google’s earnings statement somehow released it early this morning. BEFORE Google’s scheduled earnings call.

In an official statement regarding this major protocol goof, Google explained the error:

“Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization. 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 PM PT.”

The report revealed that Google had suffered a substantial drop in third-quarter earnings which, excluding “items,” were $9.03 per share, significantly down from $9.72 in the year-earlier quarter.

According to CNBC, “Google, which has been struggling to turn around a loss-making Motorola Mobility it bought for $12.5 billion, reported that its net income fell to $3.01 billion, from $3.18 billion in the year-ago quarter.”

The early, bad news on Google earnings has had a negative impact on the market’s tone since earlier in the day. As of 3 p.m. EDT, the stock market was down substantially, especially the tech-heavy NASDAQ where Google is a major component.

Adding to the NASDAQ’s woes, Apple came out on the short end of a European lawsuit with Samsung. That announcement, which also came today, dropped Apple’s shares some 14 points as of this writing. Apple is also a major component of the NASDAQ.

UPDATING: Google has re-opened, and is currently at priced at $690 per share in wild trading at 3:25 p.m. EDT. 

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate.

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Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

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Terry Ponick

Now writing on investing, politics, music, movies and theater for the Washington Times Communities, Terry was formerly the longtime music and culture critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2009) before moving online with Communities in 2010.  



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