So asks American Technology Research analyst David Edwards about Google (ticker: GOOG) in a note to clients. His answer:
GOOG chart below.
Yesterday morning, comScore released its Search data for April 2005. While we analyze the data cautiously due to the inherent difficulties in calculating Internet user metrics, the qSearch data suggests that the Y/Y growth in search queries continued to decline in April and overall U.S. search was also down M/M in April - this seems a bit out of sync with the market's general expectation that sequential search volume growth should be strong in Q2. Of course, this is a single data point and we are hesitant to draw too many conclusions because this is only one month of data, represents U.S. searches only, and doesn't include information on click-through rates and prices-per-click. That said, this data doesn't add to the increased expectations on the Street for the industry.
GOOG: What to do here?
We transitioned coverage of GOOG on May 10th when the stock was at $226. While we are firm believers in the opportunity for GOOG, we are wondering what has changed in the past month to warrant a 29% price increase. We think it is time to ask if the bubble-like excitement of the past few weeks is sustainable and whether it's time to take a bit of a victory lap. We do NOT want to be misunderstood as being negative here, we simply do not have the conviction to get incrementally bullish (driving up our estimates and price target). At the same time, our long-term optimism for the company makes it difficult to get incrementally bearish and downgrade the stock. Perhaps it is best to put it this way: if we had been given charge of a portfolio on May 10th that included GOOG, we would be lightening up, taking some profits, and locking away a 29% gain in less than a month. But, we would also be leaving some GOOG shares in the portfolio with the belief that we will be able to take profits again in the future.