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Google shares suspended after early earnings release

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Trading in shares of Google were suspended for more than two hours today after disappointing third quarter results were released several hours early.

A slowdown in its core advertising business and weakness at its recently-acquired Motorola Mobility subsidiary saw Google's third quarter net income drop by 20% compared to the same quarter last year, down to $2.18bn. Net revenue, which excludes traffic acquisition costs, was $11.3bn. Both measures were significantly below analyst expectations.

Google's results were inadvertently released several hours earlier than expected. In a statement, the company said:

"Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization.

"We have ceased trading on NASDAQ while we work to finalise the document. Once it's finalised we will release our earnings, resume trading on NASDAQ and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 PM PT."

The draft statement contained a holding paragraph for a quote from Google chief executive Larry Page. In a subsequent updated filing, in which all financial data was unchanged, Page told reporters:

"We had a strong quarter. Revenue was up 45 percent year-on-year, and, at just fourteen years old, we cleared our first $14 billion revenue quarter.

"I am also really excited about the progress we're making creating a beautifully simple, intuitive Google experience across all devices."

Shares in Google ended the day more than 8% lower.

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