Google disappointed investors with its after-hours announcement of a 17% rise in net income, signaling to many that credit woes could be hurting Internet use. The climb to $1.21 billion, or $3.79 per share, from $1.03 billion, or $3.29 a share, one year earlier underperformed estimates of a $3.91 share price, Bloomberg reports. The search giant’s shares have already fallen 18% in 2008.
Web searches also fell 3.9% in December. Consumer confidence is remarkably low, and watchers worry that Google customers will cut their ad budgets—damaging the company's bottom line. Google accounted for 75% of all domestic search ads last year; still, it rarely misses observers’ quarterly estimates, and 32 of 36 analysts continue to list the stock as a buy.