Google parent company Alphabet’s shares have lost most of what they gained on Wednesday following an analyst’s price target increase. Last year the search giant’s stock went on a tremendous tear, landing it a position in the top four tech stocks of the year known as FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google). UBS analysts don’t think last year’s stock move is over, however. They say buckle up for what could be yet another sharp increase.
Alphabet in the midst of a long-term shift
Analyst Eric J. Sheridan said he has bumped up his price target for Alphabet from $875 to $880 per share and continues to rate the stock as a Buy. He named several debates that should be considered but added that he still thinks it is undervalued compared to its medium- and long-term growth potential. Further, he said investors are clearly concerned about what will happen after the first half of this year.
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Sheridan also believes that Alphabet could surprise to the upside in terms of revenue growth in the areas of advertising, mobile computing, media, and enterprise; margin stability; and return of capital.
Three things to monitor with Alphabet
The UBS analyst goes on to name three important debates that could drive Alphabet’s operating results and stock price performance in the next five years. One is revenue growth, as he expects it to be in the mid to high teens as Google’s mobile advertising, YouTube, and Google Play, Enterprise, and Other Bets segments do well. He also believes concerns about long-term deceleration is “misplaced.
The second area of debate is operating margins, which he expects to remain flat or move upward as Alphabet improves operating efficiencies. He also believes “inherent scale leverage,” especially in some areas like YouTube, will help boost margins, although he adds that there is a mix shift pressure due to the Enterprise growth initiatives.
Third, he thinks investors should keep watching capital allocation. He believes Alphabet will seek a balance between the pursuit of large-scale revenue opportunities, boosting its computing strengths through machine learning, artificial intelligence, mobility, and improving the user experience and returning extra capital to investors.
Sheridan believes investors are underappreciating Google’s ad momentum as well.