"Did you hear the news?!?"
"No! What?" "Google's stock fell over 50 points tonight!" "Huh?!? What?!? Noooo way! I told you that company was a piece of junk! All those internet stocks are going right back to zero this year!"
And so the horror will spread acrosss the land. After much anticipation, Google tonight released its earnings report for the fourth quarter. While revenues fell within analyst expectations, the earnings missed by a country mile. I listened in on the conference call to get the story firsthand. Google's executives casually explained that the earnings miss was from taking a much bigger tax hit in the fourth quarter from a change in the mix of their international and domestic operations. If you listen closely, you will hear whispers in the air that all is still well with Google's business. But don't take it from me, read the report or listen to the conference call for yourself.
The headlines of point losses in afterhours trading will sound really scary until you break out the calculator. According to Nasdaq.com, Google hit a low of $358.25 after the earnings bomb dropped. That is a 17% collapse. By the time the panic was closed for the day, the stock sat at about $381 for a 12% loss. No, I do not mean to sound flip. We are talking some $15 or $16 billion in market cap and investor "wealth" here. But I just want to remind you faithful readers not to get lulled into the latest despair. You know that I have written a lot about Google, and I quickly went from bear to bull on both the business and the stock. I realize that the stock is at what seems like a stratospheric valuation, but I have full confidence that once the market gets its "sea legs," Google's stock will try once again to reach the lofty heights that all the analysts dream about. As long as the market chooses to focus on the negatives, I daresay we will see one big sale on Google shares.
If you need any additional ports in the storm, just remember that Google missed expectations that they did not set. In fact, I do not even know why the Google executives affirmed that they "missed" earnings expectations. They do not give financial forecasts, and they did not do so this time around. Now that the bloodletting has begun, the analysts are left to make-up the numbers as they so choose again. I cannot wait to see what they come up with now.
In case you are interested, here are some tidbits I gleaned from the conference call:
Just remember to be careful out there!