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Shiny Gift for Google

The Google (GOOG) rally has stalled out, but investor interest is still there.

After more than doubling in both 2004 and 2005, Google is down 7% this year. But on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the Net-search titan's record-setting IPO, Google seems to be winning back some important supporters.

During the second quarter, institutional shareholders bought 12 million more shares of Google than they sold, according to data from InsiderScore compiled from SEC filings.

This may be a sign that professional investors are heeding the advice of most Wall Street analysts, who still consider the stock a buy. Analysts' median target price for Google, which has more than 300 million shares outstanding, is $500, according to Thomson Financial.

Among the funds that snapped up Google are Loomis Sayles, which more than doubled its stake in the second quarter to 1.2 million shares, InsiderScore says. Northern Trust increased its holdings by 85% to 2.2 million shares, while Barclay's added 13% to its stake in the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. Barclay's now owns 9 million Google shares.

There was selling, too, of course. Fidelity, Google's largest shareholder other than the company's founders, sold 446,000 shares, trimming back its position by less than 2%. It still owns more than 24 million Google shares. Legg Mason, whose superstar fund manager Bill Miller continues to champion Internet stocks even though they are out of favor, upped its Google position by 1.7%, or 94,000 shares, to 5.6 million.

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