Internet search titan Google (GOOG) reported revenue grew 24% in the second quarter, but the results disappointed investors who had expected a stronger showing.
Google's ho-hum performance could cause Wall Street analysts to lower projections for the company heading into the second half of the year. Investors pushed Google shares down 4.5% on the news.
Google reported revenue of $5.1 billion, excluding certain items -- just ahead of the $5 billion Wall Street had been expecting -- but earnings per share were $6.45, missing the $6.51 that analysts had predicted. Although Google's revenue increased 24% over the same period last year, sales were only up 1% over the first quarter of 2010.
The results suggest that the era of blowout Google earnings reports may be coming to an end, as the company matures and its growth rate slows. For years, Google wowed Wall Street with blockbuster earnings reports every quarter. That drove up expectations for the company -- expectations which now appear to have outpaced reality.
Expenses, Currencies Weigh on Earnings
Higher than expected expenses -- and the addition of 1,200 new employees -- weighed on Google's earnings. "Operating expenses overall were higher than we had estimated, which dragged down the earnings per share," ThinkEquity analyst Aaron Kessler told Reuters.
Google was also hurt by the increasing value of the U.S. dollar over the last 6 months, which has put pressure on its business in Europe, which accounts for one-third of the company's revenue. Google spent $476 million on capital expenditures last quarter, most on servers and networking gear.
"We expect to continue to make significant capital expenditures," the company said. Despite slowing growth, the company continues to print money hand over fist from its profitable search advertising business. And let's be honest here: A nearly $2 billion quarterly profit is nothing to scoff at.
Company Sees More Online Ad Spending
"Google had a strong second quarter," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement. "Solid growth in our core business and very strong growth in our emerging businesses drove 24% revenue growth year over year. We saw strength in every major product area, as more and more traditional brand advertisers embraced search advertising and as large advertisers increasingly ran integrated campaigns across search, display, and mobile."
On a post-report conference call, Jonathan Rosenberg, Google's Senior Vice President for Product Management, said the company is benefiting from "the continued secular shift from offline to online where advertisers can really see the benefits and [return on investment] of the money they are spending."
Google executives said the company plans to continue investment in its core search product, display advertising, its suite of business software, and mobile, where the company has seen remarkable success with its Android operating system.
Company officials declined to comment on the company's recent dispute with the Chinese government, other than to confirm that Google had received a renewal of its Internet business license and say that revenue from China has little impact on the company's overhaul financial health.
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