How Analysts Keep Chasing Alphabet’s Targets Higher and Higher

Print Email

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), like Amazon and Microsoft, rocked the markets with its most recent earnings report, shattering expectations on the bottom line and sending the stock again to all-time highs. While many have called for this stock to run higher — even after the massive rally it’s had this year — it seems that no one saw this beat coming. Analysts responded in kind and hiked their targets to match Alphabet.

The stock gained nearly 5% in Friday’s session, and although this doesn’t seem like a blockbuster number, let’s take a look at the market cap. Prior to this earnings release, Alphabet’s value hovered around $679 billion, but since then it’s tacked on $32 billion to make a grand total of $711 billion at Friday’s close, second only to Apple’s $850 billion.

For some perspective: out of the S&P 500, roughly 325 companies’ market caps are less than $32 billion. With a couple more earnings reports like this, Alphabet will easily join the trillion-dollar market cap club.

In terms of the results, Alphabet reported $9.57 in earnings per share (EPS) and $27.77 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $8.33 in EPS on revenue of $27.2 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $9.06 and $22.46 billion in revenue.

What stood out in this report was that total traffic acquisition costs for the third quarter came to $5.50 billion, a 31.6% increase from $4.18 billion last year. And at the same time, aggregate paid clicks rose 47% from the same period last year and rose 6% sequentially. The average cost per click fell 18% from last year.

24/7 Wall St. tracks many analyst calls in key stocks each day and week. Alphabet’s consensus analyst target price from Thomson Reuters was $1,053.50 ahead of earnings, but that adjusted mean price target was up at $1,149.23 late on Friday after analysts began lifting their target prices after earnings.

Here’s what analysts were saying after earnings:

  • BMO Capital Markets raised its target price to $1,000 from $970.
  • Canaccord Genuity raised its target to $1,050 from $1,000.
  • Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $1,270 from $1,100.
  • Citigroup raised its target from $1,180 to $1,200.
  • Deutsche Bank raised its target to $1,225 from $1,220.
  • Jefferies raised its target to $1,225 from $1,200.
  • JPMorgan reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $1,200 from $1,100.
  • Macquarie reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target from $995 to $1,175.
  • Morgan Stanley reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $1,150 from $1,050.
  • Oppenheimer reiterated it at Outperform and raised its target to $1,180 from $1,050.
  • Raymond James raised its target to $1,200 from $1,030.
  • RBC Capital Markets raised its target to $1,125 from $1,050.
  • Stifel reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $1,150 from $1,075.
  • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey raised its target from $1,100 to $1,180.
  • UBS raised its price target to $1,165 from $1,080.
  • Wells Fargo reiterated a Buy rating and raised its target to $1,275 from $1,250.

Shares of Alphabet closed out Friday up 4.8% at $1,019.27, with a 52-week range of $727.54 to $1,048.39.