Google stock suffers again due to forecast error

Following a string of setbacks, Google stock again plunged 2.6% when the company inadvertently posted an internal financial forecast on its Web site for a brief period last week, the Associated Press said.

Quoting a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the report said that while the material contained a projection that Google's revenue would rise by about 55% this year to $9.5 billion, it also mentioned that its robust profit margins might weaken this year as more of its rivals tried to lure away some of its advertising partners.

In its SEC filing, Google described the information, which had since been removed from the Web site, as notes that were prepared for a product presentation last fall, the report said.

'These notes were not created for financial planning purposes, and should not be regarded as financial guidance,' Google said, reiterating its long-standing policy against sharing its management's profit projections.

Even if the material did not reflect Google's official predictions, the leaked information could renew investor concerns about the company's ability to live up to the lofty earnings expectations that had helped its stock price more than quadruple since an August 2004 initial public offering at $85 per share, the report said.