Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) could be poised to take over the world -- or at least Wall Street, anyway -- according to a recent CNNMoney article. After dubbing CEO Larry Page as "a pretty boring guy," the author delves into GOOG's market value, which is currently about $350 billion. This makes the search engine giant the third biggest company in the U.S. The top two firms are Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), which are valued at $475 billion and $415 billion, respectively.
Although the difference between GOOG and XOM is a notable $65 billion, the author opines that the possibility of the former surpassing the latter isn't out of the question, particularly when looking at each security's 2013 gains. GOOG sports a year-to-date advance of about 50%, while XOM has climbed just over 9%. In other words, a continued outpacing by the Internet stock over the commodity concern could lead to a rankings shake-up next year.
There's also the matter of earnings projections. While other tech companies such as Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) are expecting annual growth rates of about 10% over the next few years, GOOG has forecast profit increases of around 17%. What's more, the article points out that the company has plenty of cash to invest in making the firm even stronger, and has done a "phenomenal job with its M&A strategy." The author concludes by asking if Wall Street should be on the lookout for GOOG to take over the number one spot at some point down the road, rather than just muscling past XOM.
As noted above, Google has certainly proven its technical mettle this year. In fact, the stock has recovered 25.8% since touching an October low of $842.98, due in part to an earnings-related bullish gap. Meanwhile, the shares tagged an all-time high of $1,068.00 just last week, and are parked solidly north of their 10-month moving average, which has served primarily as support for over two years.
Although overall sentiment toward the equity is upbeat, there are still some pockets of pessimism lingering on the Street. While 22 out of 28 covering analysts maintain a "buy" or better rating for GOOG, the stock's average 12-month price target of $1,097.79 denotes expected upside of just 3.5% to its current perch at $1,060.18. This leaves plenty of room for a round of price-target hikes, which could add more fuel to the security's tank.
Elsewhere, although data from the International Securities Exchange (ISE), Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), and NASDAQ OMX PHLX (PHLX) shows a mild preference for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) calls over their bearish counterparts, traders have still bought to open more than 279,000 puts during the past 10 weeks. In addition, the stock's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) of 0.98 registers in the 52nd annual percentile -- up from a ratio of 0.92 and a ranking of just 37% on Nov. 26. From a contrarian perspective, an unwinding of these put positions could help propel the shares even higher in the near term.
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