Three Kings Bearing Profits
Friday, October 22, 2004; 9:49 AM
All eyes were on Google, which reported its earnings for the first time as a public company. The company did not disappoint, logging substantially rising profit and revenue, giving after-hours traders and the company's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, reason to smile.
The Los Angeles Times said, "[Google's] strong results, released in the first earnings report to follow the company's August IPO, put to rest any concerns about a slowdown in [its] core business, selling online ads targeted to Internet search results. Net income for the Mountain View, Calif., company came in at $52 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with $20 million, or 8 cents, during the same period last year, when Google was still toiling away in financial secrecy."
USA Today: Google Wows Investors With First Results Since IPO
The New York Times: At Google, Earnings Soar, and Share Price Follows (Registration required)
The Los Angeles Times: Google Tops Expectations for Quarter (Registration required)
However, specifics on the company's future financials are next to nil, the way Google likes to keep it. (Just try finding contacts for the company's PR department. It's like hunting for Waldo.) "Once again, investors will have to predict Google's future performance without much help from the company. As promised in Google's highly ideological IPO prospectus ... Schmidt began a conference call with analysts by declining to issue financial guidance. He said the company didn't want to get bogged down by pressure to meet quarterly expectations. Analysts tried anyway to tease out details that would offer clues into the company's finances. They asked about specific advertising metrics and the plans for products such as the Froogle online shopping site and the Gmail e-mail service. They even pressed Google executives to explain why their strategy was looking more and more like those of Yahoo, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and other Internet portals. Mostly, Google executives wouldn't bite," the Los Angeles Times said.
The Washington Post: Google Posts Big Gains in Sales, Profit (Registration required)
The Wall Street Journal gave one of the stronger synopses of what the earnings marks from Google and other star Internet players mean on the broader market overall. "Google Inc. and online retailer Amazon.com Inc. reported strong increases in third-quarter revenue and profit as consumers and advertisers continued to boost online spending. But Amazon's results disappointed some investors, and the shares fell after hours," the paper said. "The earnings generally extended the streak of Internet companies posting robust financial results despite earlier fears of a possible summer slump. Internet companies are benefiting as Americans switch to high-speed Web access from slower dial-up connections, prompting users to spend more time and money online. Roughly half of American Internet users access the Web through a broadband Internet connection such as a cable modem or digital subscriber line, compared with 40 percent a year ago."
The Wall Street Journal: Google, Amazon Post Strong Earnings (Subscription required)
Investors who got in on Google early were likely smiling ear to ear yesterday (and may still be frozen that way today): "The stock rose $11.92, or 8 percent, in after-hours trading, to a post-IPO high of $161.30. That's on top of Thursday's $8.89 rise during normal trading. The stock opened at $85 a share when trading began in August," USA Today noted. "The company executed beyond analyst expectations, there's still fervent demand for the stock, and they indicated that the best is yet to come, by far," Standard & Poor's Internet analyst Scott Kessler told the San Jose Mercury News. And Google impacted other players in the market. "We saw Yahoo up in after-hours trading and I would have to think that this would have had a little to do with it," Kessler said.
The San Jose Mercury News: Google Posts Big Gains (Registration required)
Microsoft's Quarterly Might
Microsoft's quarterly results weren't shabby -- a profit of $2.9 billion, or 27 cents per share, up 11 percent from a year ago. It reported revenue of $9.19 billion, up 12 percent. Google can't shake a stick of those numbers, which are larger than some countries' GDPs.