Earnings Preview: Google Q1 On Tap

Do you know what tomorrow is? Yep, it’s the day folks can stop trying to define the meaning of life from every scrap of Google-related data that comes out. Instead, everyone can argue about the meaning of a big pile of data in the form of an actual earnings report. Last quarter, Google’s (NSDQ: GOOG) results were weak, and since then there’s been a flood of data on paid clicks, which have been decelerating rapidly. The question is whether that’s been counterbalanced by an acceleration in price per click. For March, the latest comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) data showed an anemic 2.7 percent increase in paid clicks, basically continuing the trend we’ve seen all quarter. So far there’s been no consensus on what any of this means — the bulls see quality initiatives, while others see a scary, macro-driven trend — hopefully tomorrow brings some clarity. EPS expectations, according to Thomson (NYSE: TOC) (via Forbes.com) are for the company to earn $4.52 per share on revenue of $3.61 billion. In anticipation, analysts have been busily scribbling out their preview cards:

Doug Anmuth, Lehman: The decline in paid click growth can be chalked up to decreased coverage ratio, associated with improved quality initiatives. Overall, the latest data for March doesn’t move the needle much in terms of expectations for the quarter. Anmuth is calling for revenue of $3.58 billion in the quarter, and EPS of $4.46. He also notes that paid click growth actually declined for others in the space, suggesting some macroeconomic concerns.

Ben Schachter, UBS: “As far as a read-through into GOOG


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