Alphabet Sheds 8%, Marking an Ominous Start to Big Tech Earnings Week

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Shares of Alphabet dipped 8% Wednesday morning, a day after the search engine behemoth released third-quarter earnings that missed on the top and bottom lines.

Alphabet reported its most sluggish period for growth since 2013, except for one other period early in the pandemic. Revenue growth stood at 6% from 41% a year earlier as the company grapples with a continued slump in online ad spending.

Google’s parent company reported overall advertising revenue of $54.48 billion during the quarter, slightly higher than the year preceding. Analysts expected a surge of about 3% in YouTube ad revenue, but it plunged about 2% to $7.07 billion from $7.21 billion a year ago.

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Analysts at Bernstein maintained their outperform rating on Alphabet stock but said as Google’s ad revenues downshift, the company has become “increasingly uncomfortable” over the last six months.

“Google is an ad business first, and digital ads is no longer a safe place to hide,” they said Wednesday.

Raymond James analysts also maintained their outperform rating, citing expectations for long-term ad revenue growth and Google Cloud momentum. The analysts noted Alphabet’s plans to slow headcount additions, so they “are optimistic that margins can improve by later 2023.”