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Oops! How report error hit Google share price

Google's share price has plunged suddenly after it released its third-quarter earnings report early, apparently by mistake.

The web search and advertising company's stock fell $68.19 (¤52.15), or 9pc, to $687.30 (¤525.63) before trading was halted to give investors a chance to digest the news. Google's report had been due for release after the close of regular trading.

In a regulatory filing, Google said it earned $2.18bn (¤1.66bn), or $6.53 (¤4.99) per share, during the three months ending in September. That compared with net income of $2.73bn (¤2.08bn), or $8.33 (¤6.37) per share, last year.

The earnings would have been $9.03 (¤6.90) per share, if not for Google's accounting costs for employee stock compensation and restructuring charges related to the acquisition of Motorola. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting $10.63 (¤8.13) per share, on average.

Revenue climbed 45pc from last year to $14.1bn (¤10.7bn).