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Quick Hits: Everything's Coming Up Google

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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Google's (GOOG) fourth-quarter profit plunged about 68% -- to $5.10 per share -- but the company beat Wall Street's expectations.

That's not a wry comment on the sour mood of investors - Google's business plan showed continued strength, and the company appears well positioned to weather the economic downturn.

Google's net income skidded to $382 million, or $1.21 a share, from $1.21 billion, or $3.79 a share, for the same period a year ago. The company blamed the lower earnings on charges on its investments in Time Warner's (TWX) AOL unit and Clearwire (CLWR), operator of a wireless broadband network.

It appears Google's Internet advertising is holding up. The company said paid clicks rose 18% in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year. New York-based eMarketer, a market research firm, estimates that Google's search advertising will grow 15% in 2009, while overall online advertising is projected to grow 9%.

Add Google to Apple and IBM as solid performers in a technology sector hammered by steep reductions in consumer and corporate spending.
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