By Rob Copeland 

Google's parent bounced back from a rare stumble, posting strong earnings as an impending antitrust investigation threatens to choke the search giant's online-advertising spigot.

Alphabet Inc. reported revenue of $38.9 billion, up 19% over the same period last year. While that is slower growth than usual for the technology mainstay, it beats bearish analyst prognostications stemming from the company's earnings miss a quarter earlier.

Alphabet stock is the worst-performing this year among large tech peers. Shares bounced back after hours Thursday, up 8%.

The results highlight Google's resilience in old-school internet search, where its dominance remains near absolute. Time and again, the franchise has come through for Google as forays into tertiary areas disappoint. Analysts expect Google to continue to pack ever more ads into areas like Maps and YouTube to keep gassing growth, and Thursday's results demonstrate the rewards of those efforts.

Alphabet has earned $63 billion in the last three calendar years, providing plenty of grist for the company's less profitable misadventures.

At 21 years old, Google is hardly a technology up-and-comer any longer, and this year a series of colliding challenges threaten to take a toll. Advertising growth is slowing over the long term, pinched by rising competition and costly changes to important units like YouTube.

Meanwhile, efforts in unproven areas like cloud computing and hardware bleed resources, while U.S. prosecutors this week tipped the start of a broad new review into whether tech giants like Google are abusing their dominance.

The earnings continue a trend of strong financial performance by Silicon Valley's best-known technology companies as scrutiny of the industry intensifies. Social giants Facebook Inc. and Snap Inc. both reported strong earnings this week, buoyed by new user growth.

Alphabet also authorized a stock buyback of $25 billion.

Write to Rob Copeland at rob.copeland@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 25, 2019 17:09 ET (21:09 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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