Few companies wouldn't mind switching places with Google, who posted a $1.25 billion profit, but when you're the undisputed champ of the online world (or if you're Dr. Evil), a measly billion dollars just isn't enough. Along with earnings per share of $3.92, the numbers aren't adding up to what analysts had predicted, leaving many to wonder if the online advertising market might be taking a turn for the worse. Google Cheif Economist Hal Varian sees it differently, saying:
"Consumers are being cautious in their online spending patterns just as they are in the offline spending. Despite the weakness in the economy, advertising seems to be hodling up remarkably well in most sectors. This illustrates the point that we've made several times that during periods of slow economic growth, the last thing an advertiser wants to cut is its spending on search-based advertising."
But Varians comments did little to assuage investors, nor did posting gross sales of $5.37 billion, marking a 39 percent improvement over one year ago and hitting analysts' estimates. The company's shares still managed to drop 10 percent to $479.70 in after-hours trading.
Given the overall growth and $12.7 billion in cash, is the panic justified?