Google's latest earnings report is out, and the search giant did well during the fourth quarter of 2009, beating analysts' expectations. The unfortunate thing (at least for shareholders) is that a lot of people must have wanted it to do better still, because the stock has taken a bit of a plunge in after-hours trading.
Let's start with the good news. Google generated $4.95 billion in net revenue, topping a consensus estimate of $4.92 billion. The company managed to report $6.79 in terms of earnings per share, too, even though even though it was supposed to post closer to $6.50.
Then here are a couple more interesting facts: as of December 31st, Google was sitting on top of $24.5 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term marketable securities. Things went well enough (and the outlook's bright enough) that it added 170 full-time employees during the fourth quarter, too.
And Eric Schmidt thinks his company is on the right track. "Google had a strong fourth quarter, with 17% year over year revenue growth," he said in a statement. "Given that the global economy is still in the early days of recovery, this was an extraordinary end to the year. . . . As we enter 2010, we remain hugely optimistic about the internet and are continuing to invest heavily in technological innovation for the benefit not only of our users and customers, but also the wider web."
Still, anyone who bought Google's stock just before the market closed and its earnings report came out has lost a significant amount of money; Google's stock is down 4.33 percent in after-hours trading at the moment.