Google parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) topped $800 per share again thanks to last night’s earnings report. The company shocked Wall Street by posting earnings of $8.42 per share, smashing the consensus of $8.04 per share. Revenue also killed consensus, coming in at $20.6 billion, compared to the consensus of $20.6 billion. Adjusted EBITDA rose 24.6% to $8.96 billion, also beating the consensus at $8.35 billion.
Most analysts who are covering Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) have upped their price targets, with many firms moving as high as $1,000.
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Alphabet beats across the board
Susquehanna and Jefferies are two of the firms that moved their targets for Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares to $1,000. Google’s gross ad revenue surged 23%, marking an acceleration from the first quarter’s 22% growth and beating consensus by 3%, notes the Susquehanna team. Google Sites drove the beat, coming in 4% higher than consensus. Mobile and Product Listing Ads also saw continued strength during the second quarter, as did Network Sites, which marked a 7% increase in revenue.
Jefferies analysts said mobile search advertising and YouTube were key drivers in Google’s across-the-board beat. They see online video as “the biggest online ad growth driver” and YouTube as “the premier vehicle to play that trend.” They add that YouTube on mobile devices reaches more people in the key 18 to 49 demo than any U.S. TV network, cable or broadcast channel.
Google roars ahead on mobile
The Jefferies team adds that the second quarter was the fourth consecutive quarter in which mobile search was the top revenue driver for Google and its parent Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). They said the company greatly improved ad formats, such as by adding a third mobile ad slot in last year’s third quarter. Additionally, Google keeps innovating with new products like mobile text ads.
Cantor Fitzgerald analysts also moved to $1,000 per share on Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG). In addition to pointing to mobile as a major source of the company’s strength, they also called out engagement metrics, as aggregate paid clicks surged 29% year over year, beating the 25.1% increase expected by Wall Street. Cost per click fell 7%, which also beat the consensus at a decline of 9.2%.
Additionally, they noted that Alphabet is becoming more disciplined with controlling costs, not only in its core Google business but also in the Other Bets moonshot segment.
Alphabet’s comparisons are about to get difficult
JPMorgan analysts raised their target for Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to $950 per share but noted management’s caution on tough comparisons in the second half of the year. They also noted that this was the third quarter in a row that management highlighted this difficult comparison, which is due to the ad format change that occurred in the third quarter of last year. However, they like the potential for some of this to be offset by early Expanded Text Ads and a fourth mobile ad unit for some commercial queries. Additionally, they said the benefits from ads on Google Maps should come “over an extended period of time.”
Wedbush analysts raised their target from $840 to $880 and remain one of the most bearish firms on Alphabet as they maintained their Neutral rating. They believe the second quarter marked the company’s peak organic growth for this year, which could cause investors to search for the next catalyst. While almost every other firm praised mobile and YouTube as especially bright areas in what was a stellar performance for Alphabet, the Wedbush team warned that they’re cautious on search comparisons and YouTube. They said the sustainability of the change in mobile search as a lift for ad revenues beyond the first half of the year is a problem. Additionally, they warn that competition in video advertising could cause YouTube’s revenue contributions to “moderate more than expected.”
Other price target increases for Alphabet
A host of other analyst firms also upped their targets for Alphabet. CLSA moved from $970 to $990, while Credit Suisse analysts raised their target from $920 to $940. Pacific Crest moves from $910 to $960, and Stifel Nicolaus raised its target for Alphabet from $888 to $925. Goldman Sachs analysts upped their target from $810 to $930, while Morgan Stanley analysts moved from $865 to $880 per share.
Shares of Alphabet surged by nearly 5% to reach as high as $803.94 following last night’s results but remained firmly below the 52-week high of $810.35. As of this writing, the stock is trading at $798.34 per share.