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Google Wears the Garlands

Updated from 8:54 a.m. EDT

The Blodgetting of Google (GOOG - Get Report) intensified Friday as a growing contingent of Wall Street analysts predicted the stock has another 20% of upside or more.

Reflecting the company's blowout third quarter, price targets or implied value estimates went above $400 at brokerages including Goldman Sachs, First Albany, UBS and RBC. The Google love-in came as the stock added $39, or 13%, to $342.20 in early action Friday.

For its third quarter ended Sept. 30, the Mountain View, Calif., Net search giant made $382 million, or $1.32 a share. That's up from the year-ago $52 million, or 19 cents a share. Year-ago numbers were hit by a $200 million settlement of disputes with Yahoo! (YHOO - Get Report).

The company said its earnings based on non-generally accepted accounting principles were $1.51 a share, up from $1.33 in the second quarter. Net revenue, excluding the so-called traffic acquisition costs that the company shares with its Web advertising partners, hit $1.05 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast a third-quarter profit of $1.36 a share on net revenue of $943 million.

"Although this is typically a slower season for Internet properties, we had another exceptional quarter," said CEO Eric Schmidt. "Our focus on end users and on quality of information and advertising worldwide continues to work extremely well. We are very pleased with how well this is working at scale."

Schmidt was far from the only one. Wall Street applauded loudly after Thursday's regular trading brought a steep afternoon selloff.

"The top line looks very good," says Chuck Jones of Atlantic Trust Stein Roe in San Francisco, which owns Google shares. The results "were better than expected just because of the size of the company."

"They continue to fight back that law of large numbers," says Darren Chervitz, director of research at the Jacob Asset Management in New York, which owns shares of Google and (TSCM), publisher of this Web site. "We're looking at year-over-year revenue growth rates of about 100%."
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