Yesterday a report was released that said fewer Google users clicked on the site’s advertising in January sent the stock reeling.
Google shares went down more than 6% to $456.16, a 52-week low. Google’s shares have lost 38% since November 2007.
ComScore reported that Google; paid clicks fell 7% in January from the previous month and were relatively flat with the same period last year.
That was in sharp contrast to December, when paid clicks grew 13% compared with a year ago.
For Google, comScore reported 532 million domestic paid clicks in January, down 12% compared with October. Yahoo domestic paid clicks totaled 242 million, up 15% vs. a year ago but down 3% sequentially. Microsoft domestic paid clicks totaled 93 million, down 9% vs. a year ago and flat sequentially.
In its fourth-quarter financial results, Google indicated some concerns in this area, though at the time the company blamed the slowdown in paid-clicks to technical changes designed to reduce the number of accidental clicks by users.
One Analyst, Lee Westerfeld of BMO Capital Markets, slashed his price target on Google’s shares to $590 from $690 in response to the ComScore numbers, along with maintaining a market perform rating.
Robert Peck of Bear Stearns noted that the click-through rate was the lowest since ComScore started reporting this type of data, but still rates Google as outperform with a $650 price target.
Wall Street expects Google to earn $4.67 a share on revenue of $3.68 billion.
In a separate report, Nielsen Online said Monday Google topped January’s search rankings with 4.22 billion queries, or a 56.9% share.
Yahoo Inc. came in second for the month with 1.41 billion searches, or a 19% share, followed by Microsoft with a 12.1% share and AOL search with a 4.7% share.
Today Google shares were up almost $5 in early trading.