Investors Get First Look at Google

Investors had a hard time deciding what to think about Google’s first earnings report as a publicly traded company: the stock traded up, down and then back up again in after-hours trading Thursday.

Google beat net revenue estimates (excluding traffic acquisition costs) with revenues of $503 million, above $456 million forecasts. However, earnings per share of 45 cents missed 56-cent estimates — but those earnings were skewed by tax issues. So analysts turned their attention to EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, which came in at $321 million, above $284.5 million forecasts.

After bouncing around both sides of unchanged, Google traded after hours at around $158, up $9 from the close. and Microsoft also reported September results after the close on Thursday, but investors were less impressed with those results.

Amazon’s earnings of 17 cents a share and revenues of $1.46 billion came in slightly under estimates, and the company’s 2005 revenue guidance of $7.4-$8.15 billion was below estimates. The stock fell 8% after hours.

Microsoft beat earnings and revenue estimates with 32-cent earnings and $9.19 billion revenues, but a drop in unearned revenues caught investors by surprise, and December revenue guidance of $10.3-10.5 billion was below forecasts. Shares of Microsoft slipped after hours.

Also after the close, PeopleSoft beat pro forma estimates by three cents with earnings of 17 cents a share, and the company beat estimates on revenues ($699 million) and license revenues ($161 million) too.

In other results, Overstock and KLA-Tencor beat estimates; Broadcom beat earnings estimates but came in light on revenues; Emulex , Xilinx and TriQuint warned; Borland and Hyperion beat; and Scientific Atlanta , Harmonic and Microchip met estimates.

The pattern during the day remained the same: blue chips fell on economic jitters, only to be saved by a rally in tech stocks, this time on strong results from eBay , which soared 9% to a new all-time high.

The Nasdaq gained 20 to 1953, the S&P 500 rose 2 to 1106, and the Dow lost 21 to 9865. Volume declined to 1.67 billion shares on the NYSE, but rose to 2.03 billion on the Nasdaq. Advancers led 22-10 on the NYSE, and 18-11 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 65% on the NYSE, and 74% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 117-45 on the NYSE, and 99-55 on the Nasdaq.

Stocks gaining in the wake of earnings reports included Symantec , VeriSign , Macromedia , AT&T , RealNetworks , Digital River , SunGard , Citrix , Mercury Interactive , Siebel , PMC-Sierra , Intersil , Altera and Avocent .

SBC , CA , Manhattan Associates , RSA , Earthlink , Imation , Maxtor , Planar and Tower Semi fell on their results.

Alcatel surged on a fiber deal with SBC.

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