Nokia saved by Google earnings error

Michael Carroll
19 Oct 2012
Daily News

Nokia dodged a bullet with its 3Q results.

No, not in terms of the numbers themselves – they continued to slide, with earnings per share slipping from €-0.02 in 3Q11 to €-0.26 in the recent period, operating profit down 69% year-on-year to €78 million and sales some 19% lower than the same quarter last year.

Rather, in terms of the timing of Nokia’s results announcement. The heat was taken off the firm almost entirely by Google, which sent markets into panic with an early release of its 3Q figures that showed a 20% fall in profit year on year, on higher operating costs (up 71%) and lower advertising income (down 15%)

Google’s announcement sparked a run on its shares that resulted in a 9% drop in their value before trading was stopped as it emerged the earnings were released prematurely by the firm that prints its financial documents, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The firm always planned to hold a conference call to discuss the figures on 18 October, but after markets closed. The official release allowed the firm to put some spin on the results, with chief executive Larry Page talking up large revenue increases and emphasizing the company’s relative youth in the tech industry.

Earnings per share of $6.53 (€4.99) were well off the $10.65 per share predicted by analysts, according to the WSJ report.

The error proved so compelling that Nokia didn’t even feature on Bloomberg or Reuters tech websites. Ironically, the device maker’s share price grew 9% despite the latest losses, after it slashed its net loss to €969 million, the BBC reports.

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