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Market Preview: The Undaunted Consumer

As for Thursday's scheduled news, it's another fairly big earnings day. Google (GOOG - Get Report) gets the spotlight treatment here. The Internet search giant is slated to report its third-quarter results after the closing bell, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of $10.65 a share on revenue of $11.86 billion.

Based on Wednesday's close at $755.49, Google's stock is up more than 28% in the past year, peaking at $774.38 on Oct. 5. The company has topped earnings expectations in three of the past four quarters and the majority of the sell side is bullish with 36 of the 43 analysts covering the stock at either strong buy (15) or buy (21) and the 12-month median price target sitting at $850.

ThinkEquity previewed Google's results last week while lifting its target to $850 from $735. The firm, which also reiterated a buy rating, is expecting an in-line to slightly above consensus performance in the quarter.

"We believe that the overall search advertising environment was relatively healthy in 3Q, that new businesses such as mobile, display, and shopping continues to gain share, and importantly that Google is focused on improving the cost-structure and product road-map at Motorola," ThinkEquity said. "Given an improved environment and new products that we think should directly drive revenue like Product Listings Ads, we reiterate our Buy rating and raising our Price Target to $850 based on 18x our 2013 PF EPS of $47.23."

Jefferies, which is also at buy with an $850 price target, expressed its excitement about the company's new paid product search program, Google Shopping.

"We see upside as GOOG transitions its previously free product search program into a paid service, now called Google Shopping," the firm said. "Our comprehensive checks suggest robust adoption by retailers as it transitions to a fee-based program (will be 100% paid by Oct. 17), essentially requiring retailers to buy PLAs (aka image-ads). Our latest checks count 2x more retailers listing 50% more PLAs, suggesting GOOG is well positioned for a solid 2H."

Check out TheStreet's quote page for Google for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.

Dow component Verizon (VZ - Get Report) also reports its numbers on Thursday. Wall Street is looking for earnings of 64 cents a share in the September-ended quarter on revenue of $29 billion.

Deutsche Bank, which has a hold rating and $42 price target on Verizon, is looking for in-line results from the communications giant but said the stock's valuation with a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 15.8X is still too steep vs. 13.1X multiple of the S&P 500 to boost its rating.
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