Google’s parent company Alphabet will release its third quarter earnings on 26 October. The tech giant trounced expectations with its second quarter results, with EPS and revenue both coming out well ahead of analysts’ predictions. Whether the company can keep this hot-streak going is another matter.
The company’s publicly traded stock is split into two portions. Its class A shares (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and its class C shares (NASDAQ: GOOG), while its class B shares are owned by insiders and are not traded publicly. The main difference between the class A and class C shares is that the latter have no voting rights.
The Google owner’s class A and C shares have increased in value by 62.9% and 63.2% respectively in the year to date. The last five years have seen each of these share prices rise by 253.9% and 266.6%.
Looking ahead, Alphabet’s class A and C shares have 12-month average share price targets of $3,226.03 and $3,111.12 respectively, according to Koyfin data. Most brokers have the shares listed with Buy or Strong Buy recommendations.
As of 19 October, Alphabet’s financials looked like this:
Share Price: $2,855.56 (NASDAQ: GOOGL), $2,859.21 (NASDAQ: GOOG)
Market Cap: $1,887.1bn
Trailing 12-month (TTM) Revenue: $220.3bn
TTM Cash and Short Term Investments: $135.9bn.
Total Assets: $335.4bn
Total Equity: $237.6bn
TTM EPS: 92.25
TTM P/E Ratio: 30.7
The company’s third quarter results look set to be a little less spectacular than the results seen in July. Speaking at the release of the second quarter results, Alphabet CFO, Ruth Porat, said she expected a “more muted tailwind to revenues in the third quarter”.
Alphabet’s third quarter revenue is expected to come in at $63.12bn, which would represent 2% growth from the second quarter and 37% growth compared to the same period in 2020. Meanwhile, analysts expect EPS to stand at 23.39 for the three-month period. This would be a drop of 14.2% compared to the second quarter and an increase of 42.6% from last year’s third quarter.
Many of the company’s services enjoyed spectacular growth during the pandemic period. For example, the second quarter saw YouTube’s revenues increase by 83% compared to the same period in 2020, climbing to just over $7bn. However, it remains to be seen whether relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions will reduce the amount of people tuning in to watch content.
On the other hand, recovery from the pandemic could boost advertising revenue. Alphabet noted in its second quarter results that 2021 had seen advertiser spending increase as consumer spending rose. Continued pandemic recovery could see that growth continuing.
One other risk faced by Alphabet is the growth of mobile internet usage. Most of its advertising revenue is earned through its Google Chrome browser. Though this application still exists for web-searching on mobile devices, its importance is diminished due to app use. For example, a mobile user looking to purchase something on Amazon does not need to search for the Amazon webpage using a search engine. Instead, they bypass the browser entirely and use the Amazon Shopping app. Continued growth of mobile internet usage could hurt Alphabet over time by cutting into its ad revenue.
The company also faces many of the same risks as internet-based giants like Facebook and Amazon. For example, Alphabet is currently appealing against a $5bn fine from the European Union for eliminating competition through its presence on Android phones.
This is the largest ever fine handed down by the union. The company has also previously been fined $1.49bn for breaching EU antitrust rules. Further financial penalties could do serious damage to Alphabet, while measures to encourage competition could reduce the company’s slice of the online pie.
Is Google a good investment?
Investing in Google-owner Alphabet seems like an attractive prospect. The first factor in its favour is simply the company’s dominance. Google had a 92.5% market share of the search engine market as of June 2021.
Some of its older segments, like YouTube, are still achieving impressive growth and developing in new exciting ways. The video platform’s second quarter revenue rivalled that of streaming goliath Netflix and the creation of YouTube Shorts will allow the platform to compete directly with TikTok.
Furthermore, the company has registered exceptional share price growth over its history and investors continue to look to the company for strong and reliable returns. However, Google faces a multitude of risks, from increased regulation to its troubles in the mobile space.