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Google shares dive as profits reported down 20%

Trading suspended until market calms down

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Google caused something of a stir by releasing its quarterly financials ahead of schedule – and the results aren't good.

Net income for the third quarter was $2.18bn, compared to $2.73bn this time last year, with non-GAAP income down to $3.01bn, compared to $3.18bn on the same time period. Overall revenues were up 45 per cent from last year's $14.1bn, the company reports.

Paid clicks were up 33 per cent on the quarter, although the average cost per click was down 15 per cent. Motorola continues to be a drag on the company, losing $527m in the quarter (we hope those patents are worth it) and restructuring costs were another $349 million, albeit with a $76m tax write-off.

The figures were revealed in an 8K SEC filing which appears to have been mistakenly released early, judging from "PENDING LARRY QUOTE" on the document. Google has reportedly blamed the early release on its printer, RR Donnelley.

Those sensible and level-headed types who occupy Wall Street promptly panicked at the early news, and Google's share price slumped 10 per cent before trading was stopped. Facebook's share price is also down on the news, with traders expecting collateral damage to the social networking giant.

Google's CEO Larry Page will be holding a conference call to discuss the situation at 1:30pm Pacific Time on Thursday – and, presumably, to explain himself. ®

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