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April 16, 2009 1:39 PM

Google gets thrifty: sales fall 3% in quarter, stock jumps 5% (briefly)

Posted by Brier Dudley

Google reported what looks like a "not as bad as it could have been" quarter today, leading to a 5 percent jump in after-hours trading.

CEO Eric Schmidt called it "a good quarter given the depth of the recession" in the release.

The report quantifies how much Google benefited from its newfound thriftiness -- including cutbacks in its legendary food service and its army of temporary workers: $116 million and counting. That's how much "payroll-related and facilities expenses" declined in the quarter, from to $774 million from $890 million.

Sales declined 3 percent sequentially to $5.51 billion, but were up 6 percent over the first quarter of 2008.

After closing at $388.74, up 2.4 percent, it rose on the news to around $406.

Other highlights:

GAAP operating income for the first quarter of 2009 was $1.88 billion, or 34 percent of revenues. This compares with GAAP operating income of $1.86 billion, or 33 percent of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Non-GAAP operating income in the first quarter of 2009 was $2.16 billion, or 39 percent of revenues. This compares with non-GAAP operating income of $2.15 billion, or 38 percent of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2008.

GAAP net income for the first quarter of 2009 was $1.42 billion as compared with $382 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Non-GAAP net income in the first quarter of 2009 was $1.64 billion, compared with $1.62 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our AdSense partners, increased approximately 17 percent over the first quarter of 2008 and increased approximately 3 percent over the fourth quarter of 2008.

Operating expenses, other than cost of revenues, were $1.52 billion in the first quarter of 2009, or 28 percent of revenues, compared with $1.65 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008, or 29 percent of revenues. The operating expenses in the first quarter of 2009 included $774 million in payroll-related and facilities expenses, compared with $890 million in the fourth quarter of 2008.

UPDATED: The after-hours run is over, stock's now flat with its closing.

"Easy come, easy go" is how Eric Savitz at Barron's put it. From his analysis and analyst roundup:

"The market was looking kind of giddy there for a bit, but there were apparently a few things on the post-earnings conference call that left people feeling a bit more sober.

One thing that may be playing a factor the comment from CEO Eric Schmidt that with the economy still soft, the typical seasonality the company experiences in Q2 and Q3 could be more pronounced."

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