Google sales, earnings beat forecasts

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Google, the leader of web search advertising, has posted strong Q4 2008 earnings today, beating forecasts made by Wall Street analysts, even though of the weak economy in the United States and the global slowdown in other countries.

Excluding any one-time items, Google has said that it earned $5.10 a share in Q4 2008, even though analysts expect it to make a profit of $4.95 a share.

Indicating that the company was able to stop most of its free-spending ways to offset the slowdown in revenue from the ad market that has made Google profitable, it does not mean that the recession isn’t going to hit Google – but it’s starting to emerge.

The downturn forced Google to make a write down of $1.1 billion of the $1.5 billion that has been invested in AOL and Clearwire; and has allowed its 20,222 employees swap their outstanding stock options for new ones that will carry a lower exercise price, but will give them a better chance to make money.

Google closed at $306.50, on a high of 1.13 percent. In after-hours trading, it is currently up at 311.23, with an increase of 1.54 percent.