Google (GOOG) shares Friday hit an all time high. The search engine giant now has a market cap of close to $175 billion, just a few billion below Wal-Mart (WMT) (to provide just a modicum of perspective here, current Street revenue estimates for the current year are 33x higher for Wal-Mart than for Google: $377.8 billion vs. $11.5 billion).
Anyway, there have been couple of research notes on the company over the last several days that may or may not be contributing to the stock’s buoyant performance, but which nonetheless are worth knowing about.
- Cowen’s Jim Friedland issued a note discussing some of the comments made at a media day in New York Thursday by Jon Kaplan, Google’s industry director of financial services. According to Friedland, two financial services companies have cut their overall marketing spending by 50%, but left their search ad budget unchanged. Clicks in the financial category are up 66% year-over-year; spending is up 90%. Non-mortgage companies are spending faster than mortgage companies. Friedland says he continues to believe that advertisers will shift from brand-related ads to direct response if the economy weakens.
- Bear Stearns Internet analyst Robert Peck Thursday published a note about a conference call he held with Stephen Arnold of AIT Consulting on how Google can get to be a $100 billion company (that would be by revenue; to be a $100 billion market cap company, it would have to suffer a huge decline). According to Peck, Arnold finds Google to have a 9-24 month technology lead on rivals, and the edge is increasing. He lists six areas where Google is “probing” new business sectors, including telecom, entertainment, publishing, enterprise applications, e-payments and next-generation advertising.
- Quite a few analysts have chimed in on the fact that Google appears to continue to take market share in the search market, according to both Comscore and Nielsen/Netratings.
- And for your amusement, the Googlers on the latest Forbes list of the world’s richest humans include: 12. Sergey Brin; 13: Larry Page; 48. Eric Schmidt; 204. Omid Kordestani and 271. Kavitark Ram Shriram. I’m almost surprised there aren’t more.