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Google, Amazon Have 'Strong Growth Potential': Analysts

Sanford C. Bernstein initiated coverage of the Internet sector and picked Google and Amazon as two stocks with "sustainable competitive advantages and strong growth potential" in a research report released on Friday.

The report's analysis is based on the assumption that between 2011's fourth quarter and 2012's fourth quarter, there will be no major contraction or expansion in the world's economy.

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Analysts placed an "outperform" rating on Google and a $743 12-month price target.

"We do not think online advertising market is close to saturation, that Facebook poses a major threat to search revenue growth, or that Google faces a real threat of proactive regulatory action on anti-trust or privacy grounds that would fundamentally change the trajectory of the business," according to the report.

Amazon also earned Bernstein's "outperform" rating. It placed a $271 target price on Amazon and expects the company's earnings to beat 2013 consensus estimates.

Analysts gave Netflix a "market-perform" rating along with a $79 price target. The firm saw limitations to growth in the U.S., Latin American, and European markets.

"We think Netflix's penetration of addressable households in the U.S. is much higher than widely believed, and subscriber and revenue growth will slow down materially after 2012, as the market saturates and competition intensifies," the analysts said.

Ebay's "market-perform" rating was due to Bernstein's expectation that growth after the next 12 months will not keep pace with e-commerce because of increasing competition. Analysts gave the company a $37 price target.

The final company in the report, Yahoo , received a price target of $17 and a "market-perform" rating. Bernstein analysts added that they do not think it would be wise to short the company's stock at this point.

"We think there is a good chance that Yahoo! will beat consensus revenues and estimates next year, but we don't think there is enough upside to recommend the stock," they said.

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Disclosures:

Bernstein currently makes a market in Amazon, eBay, Google and Yahoo.

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