Mike Isaac

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Did Google’s Earnings Gaffe Spook the Street on Tech Stocks?

Man, it was a rough morning for Google on the Nasdaq.

Close to midday on Thursday, Google’s financial printing partner, RR Donnelly, published the search giant’s earnings release draft hours before it was supposed to. The result: Shares of Google dropped sharply and almost instantly by nearly 75 points, with the unexpected gaffe only compounding the fact that Google missed its quarterly expectations.

But the company wasn’t alone.

Major Internet company stocks slumped across the board on the news. As of 2:30 pm ET, LinkedIn shares were down 2.5 percent, joined by Amazon, whose shares dropped three points.

Social companies Facebook and Zynga also shrank by nearly 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Groupon was down nearly 3 percent.

Apple, too, dropped 11 points, close to a 2 percent drop overall, while Microsoft was down around a quarter of a percent.

It’s worth noting that Thursday was a down market day overall for the Nasdaq, off around 1 percent midday. There was, however, one shining light amid the tanking Internet stocks: eBay was up nearly 5 percent in midday trading.

But the sharp drop for many Internet companies could mean that the Street was spooked by Google’s folly. However momentary, the Valley felt the repercussions.

Google still plans to hold its earnings conference call at the end of business today. We’ll be watching to see what after-hours trading for tech stocks looks like.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work