Google parent Alphabet Q4 results: shares down after earnings revenue beats estimates

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Bulls Look to Alphabet Results to Keep Tech Stock Rally Going

For a point of comparison, Google's "other revenues" segment "only" brought in $3.4 billion in revenue in the last quarter of 2016, so the business has nearly doubled in the last two years.

"In 2018 we delivered strong revenue growth, up 23 per cent year over year to $136.8 billion, and up 22 per cent for the fourth quarter to $39.3 billion", Ruth Porat, Chief Financial Officer of Alphabet and Google, said in a statement on Monday.

The fees that Alphabet pays to companies like Apple for Google to be their default search engine rose to $7.4bn up from $6.6bn for the same period previous year. The company's operating margin fell to 21% in the fourth quarter from 24% in the year-earlier period. Last year Google chose its fourth-quarter earnings call to disclose a quarterly cloud revenue run rate above $1 billion, but it has declined to update that number since that disclosure.

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Alphabet is relying on its ad business to support sales and profit growth as it develops new offerings such as cloud services and consumer hardware. Those brought in $6.49 billion during this quarter, a 31 percent increase year-over-year. Earnings per share were actually $12.77.

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

He did share one small nugget meant to highlight the success of one of its newest devices: one in seven Google Home devices activated during the holiday season was a Google Home Hub, Pichai said.

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Wall Street reacted negatively to another quarter of high expense growth: 26% in the latest three months.

Another factor making the market wary was a 29 percent drop in "cost per click" or the average price of digital ads, the main source of revenue for the tech giant. (The company said its growth in capital spending and hiring will moderate this year.) Stock watchers appeared to focus on the negative for Google. The global market for advertising appears to be finite, and Google and Facebook already grab a large share of spending. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, quoted by CNBC, said he expects a "meaningful acquisition" to "enhance enterprise sales/support functions and SaaS capabilities", given that Alphabet's $109 billion cash hoard allows Google Cloud to "go elephant hunting".

Still, ads from Google and rival Facebook Inc. are more relevant and effective than most other options - precisely because the companies collect so much information on activity across the internet and beyond. However, those operations showed a $1.3 billion operating loss.

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"If Google really wants to see more of a sum-of-its-parts valuation from investors, they're going to have to start disclosing", Aaron Kessler, an analyst at Raymond James, said. And these are very much bets - it lost $3.4 billion on Other Bets in the past year. Most of those were engineers and product managers, with cloud the biggest-growing segment, Porat said.

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