Google Shares Have Another 20% Upside: Analyst
A 20 percent run has put Google shares at an all-time high, and one analyst expects as much as 20 percent gain still to come.
"Over the last two or three years, [Google] hasn't had that much of a run and has underperformed vis-a-vis the rest of the Internet group," Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali told CNBC. "That said, we still think it has another $50 or $100 upside short term."
Google's margins, hurt by its Motorola unit, may start to improve, Squali said, adding that the company is growing faster and has better margins than Apple.
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"You have a company that has a great business model, which is primarily based on advertising," Wedbush analyst James Dix told CNBC. "They're investing heavily in some new businesses … which gives them the potential down the road to look at new business models."
But the product investments won't divorce the company from its current model near term, Dix said. "Google is doing some perhaps less sexy innovations in the core ad market," he said. "They're innovative in the ad-words platform, which is how they monetize search, so that's really what's going to drive the stock more."
Squali called Google shares a good buy, despite this year's surge. "Valuation is still very, very attractive, and it's trading on nine times cash flow—almost cheaper than the S&P 500," he said. "We like it quite a bit here."
Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, agreed. "Google is a great, long-term play," adding that it's probably a safer investment than Apple.
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But Munster, who sees 50 percent upside to Apple shares over the next 12 months, said, "If you had to put money to work for the next year, Apple is the better bet."
Cantor Fitzgerald had no conflicts to report.