Google Inc Earnings May Miss But Investors May Not Care


Google is set to release its first earnings report under its new organization as the parent company Alphabet Holdings on Thursday after closing bell. It looks like Wall Street isn’t expecting much. As of this writing, Class A shares of Alphabet were down 3.27% at $677.05 per share and still falling.

 What to expect in Google’s earnings report

Stifel analysts Scott Devitt, John Egbert and Alex Chavdaroff said in their report dated Oct. 19 that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) could miss estimates. However, they expect the company’s shares to rise thanks to the increased transparency that should come about as a result of the reorganization under the Alphabet name.

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Data from Kenshoo, a major search engine marketing firm, indicates that Google Search is not growing as fast as the Stifel team expected. They also said that early data on app-install ads in Google Play suggests that Google is ramping the add load slowly. Further, the analysts said that their conversations with participants in the industry indicate that Alphabet is more heavily pushing app-install ads in core Google Search results.

Consensus estimates suggest that Google’s new parent company will post $18.54 billion in revenue and earnings of $7.21 per share. Stifel analysts are looking for gross revenues of $18.5 billion, traffic acquisition costs of $3.4 billion, and net revenues of $15.1 billion for the third quarter. They project adjusted EBITDA of $7.4 billion, adjusted earnings of $7.14 per share, and GAAP earnings of $5.68 per share.

Positives for Alphabet

They also found, however, that Android has surpassed 1.4 billion users and that Alphabet upped the number of mobile search ads from two to three in August. Further, the company announced earlier this month that smartphone-only searches passed those on desktops.

Another indirect positive the Stifel team found was problems with Gemini, which is Yahoo’s ad marketplace. The platform apparently offers very limited reporting and optimization capabilities, which the analysts believe could cause some marketers to shift more of their ad budgets to Google for now.

Looking to Google’s fourth quarter

The analysts believe the fourth quarter will be a positive catalyst for Alphabet because the new organization adds more disclosures and pulls out the results from Google’s core business from the moonshot segments. They think the core business will grow in profitability more than what the consolidated business currently shows. They also expect investors to see faster growth in Alphabet’s newer businesses than what is currently understood.

Next year, they believe app-install ads will become more important in terms of driving growth in Google Play. The Stifel team also expects more growth from Google’s Customer Match, which is similar to Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature.

Stifel has a Buy rating and $850 per share price target on Alphabet.