Ahead of the Bell: Google

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2013 8:44 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Google shares soared before Friday's opening bell after it reported a big quarterly profit and quashed apprehension about advertising revenue.

Investors had been worried that a deepening decline in Google's average ad prices would cut into its bottom line. But while the company's ad prices are still sagging as marketers pay less for commercial pitches on mobile devices, the number of revenue-generating clicks on those ads is rising at a much faster pace.

Google Inc.'s profit for the quarter jumped 36 percent and its adjusted results beat Wall Street predictions.

In premarket trading, Google shares rose $82.01, or 9 percent, to $970.80. If the gains hold after the opening bell, it would mark a new all-time high for the stock and would be within swinging distance of $1,000.

And more Wall Street analysts are seeing Google's stock at $1,000 and beyond.

Jefferies analyst Brian Pitz backed his "Buy" rating for the stock and boosted his price target by $150 to $1,150, saying that Google remains a "must-own stock." He pointed to Google's YouTube online video website appeals to advertisers and said that Google is the best positioned company in mobile computing.

Citi's Mark May also backed his "Buy" rating as well and increased his price target by $20 to $1,025.

"All told, Google's results continue to impress in the face of a mixed macro environment and competition, and we forecast year-over-year Google segment net revenue growth of 20 percent in the fourth quarter and 16 percent in calendar year 2014," May wrote in a note to investors.