Google suffers share price plunge

Google's share price has plunged suddenly after it released its third-quarter earnings report early, apparently by mistake.

The web search and advertising company's stock fell 68.19 dollars (£42), or 9%, to 687.30 dollars (£428) before trading was halted to give investors a chance to digest the news. Google's report had been due for release after the close of regular trading.

In a regulatory filing, Google said it earned 2.18 billion dollars, (£1.3bn) or 6.53 dollars per share, during the three months ending in September. That compared with net income of 2.73 billion dollars, or 8.33 dollars per share, last year.

The earnings would have been 9.03 dollars per share, if not for Google's accounting costs for employee stock compensation and restructuring charges related to the acquisition of Motorola. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting 10.63 dollars per share, on average.

Revenue climbed 45% from last year to 14.1 billion dollars. Excluding compensation for websites that generate traffic for Google's ads, revenue was 11.33 billion. Analysts were expecting 11.5 billion.

The strong dollar appeared to contribute to Google's struggles. The company said that if foreign exchange rates had been stable, its revenue would have been 136 million dollars higher.

Excluding this summer's acquisition of mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility, Google's revenue rose 18%.

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