Sometimes, even Google (GOOG) can’t live up to expectations. Shares of the provider of the world's leading Internet search engine traded lower despite sizable second-quarter top- and bottom-line advances.
The Internet giant posted strong results, receiving healthy contributions from every major product area. Revenue-generating clicks and prices-per-ads were both up in the term. All told, revenues advanced more than 20% year over year, to $6.82 billion, in line with our estimate.
The bottom-line gain also topped the 20% mark, climbing to $5.71 a share in the term. However, this total fell short of our $5.85 forecast, as well as consensus expectations. Costs rose as Google aggressively increased hiring and other expenditures.
The company looks to expand its lead in the Internet space, as well as ramping up the diversity of its product platform. Google's bevy of ideas in the development stages range from display ads to online video to mobile phones. The buzz surrounding the company's Android mobile operating system, especially, continues to grow. And, with the economy continuing to shows signs of improvement, Google believes now is the time to invest to get these projects up and running.
Through the first six months of 2010, the company has already shelled out $476 million in capital expenditures, more than three times as much as last year.
Too, it signaled that it would continue to spend in an effort to build the Google Empire, going so far as to hint at adding debt for the first time. Despite nearly $30 billion in cash on the balance sheet, the board of directors approved a plan to add up to $3 billion in debt. The rationale here is that the returns on these projects will surpass borrowing costs.
But all this may have been a bit too much for impatient investors to handle. Shares of Google came under slight pressure following the earnings release. In addition to the elevated expenses, investors are also likely showing some concern over Google's recent troubles in China.
At the same time, fears over slowing growth may have begun to surface. Google may have snatched the reins in the search engine space from Yahoo (YHOO), but it faces steep competition in numerous other spaces where it looks to gain a foothold. Notably, the Android system is gaining popularity, but Apple (AAPL) and the iPhone are not handing over their grip on the mobile market. And standing in Google’s way in the social-networking arena is the Facebook juggernaut.
In light of the recent results and heightened cost structure, we have reduced our 2010 share-earnings estimate for Google by $0.35, to $24.25. That said, our 3- to 5-year projections continue to peg these shares as an above-average investment. That is, if investors are patient enough to wait that long.