Shares of Google Inc. fell 1.8% in after-hours trade Thursday, after the Internet search giant missed fourth-quarter profit and sales expectations, with the growth in paid clicks falling short of forecasts. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, adjusted earnings, which excludes non-recurring items, rose to $4.74 billion, or $6.88 a share, from $4.57 billion, or $6.70 a share, in the year-earlier period, but missed the FactSet consensus analyst estimate of $7.12 a share. Total revenue rose 15% to $18.1 billion, below analyst forecasts of $18.45 billion. Total paid clicks increased 14%, missing analyst projections of 17% growth. Traffic acquisition costs increased to $3.62 billion from $3.31 billion. The stock has lost 8.1% over the past three months through Thursday's close, compared with a 2% gain in the S&P 500.
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