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Google's big miss highlights Wall Street's big worry (+video)

Google isn't the only company reporting disappointing revenues. So far this earnings season, most companies have exceeded profits expectations, but only 42 percent have beaten revenue forecasts.

Google lets cameras inside one of its secret data centers.
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Google's stunning earnings disappointment on Thursday is a dramatic example of what has become Wall Street's latest worry: revenue is coming in much worse than anyone thought.

Overall this earnings season, third-quarter profits have managed to be a shade better than the doom-and-gloom forecasts.

But company top lines—or the revenue generated that should be driving those bottom-line profit beats—have been even worse this quarter than they were last.

Google, which released results earlier than expected due to a printer error, showed that the Internet-search giant missed on both sales and profits. (Read more:Google Reports Big Earnings Miss)

 The Google results sent the broader market lower, though the damage was most pronounced on the Nasdaq, which lost 1 percent. (Read More: Nasdaq Tumbles on Google Selloff)

 Google's misfortunes raised questions of whether it could be a market game-changer.

 With about one-third of the companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 reporting so far, a healthy 65 percent have beaten the low bar set for profit expectations in the third quarter.

 But while that has been happening, just 42 percent have topped revenue forecasts.

 That is well below the historical average of 62 percent and even worse than the anemic second quarter, which saw a sales beat of just 44 percent. The market has flatlined so far during earnings.


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