Shares of Google were suspended when a printer error occurred which wiped out $20 billion (£12.4 billion) from the value of the search engine giant. An accidental email was sent to the US stock market authorities which stated that Google’s latest quarterly results were far below the US stock market’s expectations.
Chaos spread in the stock market as Google share price fell rapidly due to panic among investors. Google Stock dropped 9% before trading was halted, owing to the error. The Google shares recovered only slightly after trading resumed and closed to 8% low.
The announcement of Google’s third quarter results was scheduled for publication after markets closed in New York, but was accidentally published four hours early. The release even contained a space for a quote from Larry Page, Google’s chief executive.
Google rushed to throw the blame on financial printers RR Donnelly for filing its draft third quarter results “without authorisation”, which led to the leak of the results, which are usually internally circulated for several days as they are prepared for public release to strict timetables, under strict confidentiality.
Meanwhile, RR Donnelly said that it was “fully engaged in an investigation to determine how this event took place and are pursuing our first obligation – which is to serve our valued customer”. Shares of RR Donnelly also fell, but only by 2%.
The leaked results showed that Google earned $9.03 (£5.62) per share in the third quarter, which was below analysts’ estimates of $10.63 (£6.61). Google’s search engine revenues were also below expectations, hitting $11.5 billion (£7 billion) where analysts had expected it to show $11.9 billion (£7.38 billion).
Google’s average income per click plummeted 15% over the three months to the end of September, illustrating fears that mobile advertising is losing its sheen as users have shifted from the desktop to the smartphone to do their searching.