Monday, 22 October, 2018

Google parent Alphabet sees record highs despite European Union fine

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York Google's attempt to settle its antitrust case in Europe was too little and too late
Scott Davis | 24 July, 2018, 21:36

In the same quarter previous year, Alphabet reported earnings of $8.90 per share, excluding a $2.7 billion regulatory fine the European Union imposed on the tech giant.

But those issues have yet to halt Alphabet, which has grown quarterly revenue at least 20 percent year-over-year for two straight years.

But Wall Street wasn't bothered by the loss: The company's stock soared more than 5 percent to a record high in after-hours trading following its earnings report. Google gives Android to smartphone makers for free, part of the reason it's the most popular mobile operating system.

In a call with analysts to discuss Alphabet's latest earnings, CEO Sundar Pichai emphasized the company's growing use of artificial intelligence to improve Google's news delivery, mapping and photo features.

Google has more than 95 percent of share of search in Europe, according to the European Commission's complaint against the company.

Profit dipped 9.3 percent to $3.2 billion in the second quarter after accounting for the European Union fines, the company said.




But Alphabet's outlook is tempered by cost concerns, and Amazon.com Inc's encroachment into advertising has threatened Google's lucrative deals with media companies and advertisers. The pace is accelerating: it only took ~1 month to add the last million miles, vs. 2 mos from 6 million to 7 million miles and 16 months from 1 million to 2 million miles.

Reacting to another monster quarter from Google parent Alphabet Inc., a CNBC analyst wondered out loud if the tech giant has become more powerful than the USA government. Google is appealing the ruling.

What makes these results most impressive, perhaps, is that they include that $5 billion European Union fine: Alphabet has already recognized the charge and is moving on. "We are analyzing the decision and I think it's too early to comment or speculate", he said.

"One of the biggest opportunities for investment continues to be in our ads business", Porat told analysts on the earnings call. That leaves the infamously opaque "other revenues" segment - including the hardware business, Play Store, etc. - to bring in $4.4 billion in revenue.

Built on the strength of its advertising empire, Google saw surprisingly strong growth. Oddly enough, however, Alphabet isn't spending much money to get those groups going - capital expenditures for Other Bets was a puny $10 million for the quarter, compared to $148 million a year ago.

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