Google parent Alphabet earnings shine but market wary

The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London Britain. Toby Melville Reuters  File

Google parent company Alphabet has posted its fourth quarter 2018 and full fiscal year earnings, noting continued growth for the company and beating out many analysts' estimates.

The company reported net income of $8.95 billion, or $12.77 per Class A and B common share and Class C capital share, in the quarter ended December 31, compared with a loss of $3.02 billion, or $4.35 per share, a year earlier when it recorded a one-time tax charge of $9.9 billion. Capital expenditures rose 64 percent compared to a year ago, up to $7.08 billion. Analysts expect sales growth to slow to 19 percent this year from 23 percent in 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Analysts had expected a profit of $10.86 a share, or $11.02 adjusted for tax law changes.

Other bets revenue was $595m, up from $477, though operating loss increased from $2.7bn to $3.36bn as well.

For all that, investors apparently expected a little more operating income, which at $8.2 billion came in a bit short of the $8.6 billion consensus.

Alphabet's Google search engine is the digital world's most lucrative advertising business, and it was slapped with a $57 million fine last month by French authorities.

Alphabet shares declined 3 percent in extended trading.

Investors concerned that Alphabet's future growth, especially in emerging markets, will not match its previous rates, are looking to the company's other businesses to provide new streams of revenue.

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Google continues to grow its cloud business and hardware sales, which brought in $6.49 billion during the quarter.

The category accounted for $154 million in revenue for the quarter, up from $131 million a year ago.

Overall, Google's revenue for the quarter was $39.1 billion, up 22% from the $32.2 billion recorded during the 2017 fourth quarter. Refinitiv also estimated revenue at $38.93 billion compared to the actual $39.27 billion.

"Everything we do at Google is united by the mission of making information accessible and useful for everyone", said CEO Sundar Pichai during the earnings call. "Our product offerings are ready and differentiated, so want to invest in scale and go-to-market".

All eyes are on Thomas Kurian, the recently hired cloud services executive who's attempting to turn the Google Cloud Platform into an enterprise business. Amazon said its AWS revenues rose 45 percent, to $7.4 billion.

Google also had to pay more to attract traffic. We are very open to acquisitions, ' said Porat.

Impressions on Google network member properties remained at 7%, but the cost per impression on these properties rose to 7%, up from 5% in the year-ago quarter. Growth in headcount will "moderate significantly" as well.

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