Google shares plummeted by as much as 13% after the company's CFO raised the specter of slower earnings growth, a remark that soured recent investor enthusiasm that had been building for the Internet's leading search engine, an Associated Press report said.
The latest in a series of abrupt downturns in Google's stock followed CFO George Reyes' answer to a question during an investor conference hosted by Merrill Lynch in New York, the report said.
After hailing the results of an 18-month effort to boost advertising revenue, Reyes predicted that it would become increasingly difficult for the firm to maintain its rapid growth pace.
The report said Reyes, however, later put a more positive spin on his remarks, saying: "I am not turning bearish at all. I think we have a lot of growth ahead of us. I think it's just a question of at what rate."
The comments still spooked Wall Street, which had only just recently recovered from the disappointment of fourth-quarter results that provided a firsthand look at Google's slackening growth, the report said.