Google shares cross $600 threshold for first time
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares in Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) hit a new benchmark of $600 on Monday, fueled by investor confidence that the Web search leader's advertising technology will capitalize on new areas of the media industry.
Google shares briefly hit $600 for the first time early in its trading session on the Nasdaq, marking a key threshold for the company which priced its shares at $85 a piece at its initial public offering in 2004.At $187 billion, the company ranks eleventh among the largest companies on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index by market capitalization. The ranking puts them behind software maker Microsoft and network equipment company Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: Quote, Profile, Research), but ahead of retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research).
Some analysts see Google reaching $700 a share in the next year as it competes more fiercely with Yahoo and gains a foothold in new forms of Web marketing, including video.
Last Friday, Bear Stearns was the latest firm to say Google could hit the $700 mark, calling it one of the best operating companies it covers in the Internet sector.
Google is trading at 31 times projected 2008 earnings, an attractive multiple given growth forecasts for the company and one that represents a discount to where Microsoft and Cisco shares were trading in their heyday, according to Pyykkonen.
"They are clearly No. 1 and not losing any ground there," he said.
Google was up 0.9 percent to $599.50 on the Nasdaq. The shares traded as high as $601.45 during the session.