Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report received an out-of-the-gate one-year price target upgrade on Tuesday from Citi analyst Jason Bazinet as regulatory scrutiny on the company wanes, and as operating leverage begins to turn the corner.
In a note marking his takeover of coverage on the company, Bazinet said Google's price-to-earnings multiple has remained low "despite its continued rapid growth," adding that the P/E multiple has been pressured by negative operating leverage over the past seven years.
While Bazinet said he expects Alphabet's growth to slow to the mid-teens over next three years, he believes the company's efforts in dealing with antitrust issues and other regulatory matters is over for now, and that there is strong opportunity for improvement, particularly in operating leverage.
Bazinet reiterated Citi's buy recommendation on the company, and lifted his group's one-year price target to $1,500 from $1,450.
To be sure, Bazinet isn't the only market-watcher optimistic on Alphabet's longer-term prospects.
"Alphabet possesses the rare combination of strong growth backed by strong profits, very high returns on invested capital and a strong repurchase plan in place. And its stock is too cheap to be ignored for much longer," London-based hedge fund manager and TheStreet.com contributor Michael Wiggins De Oliveira wrote on Monday.
"Investing is never easy and there are no certainties. But Alphabet has a unique combination of strong growth, a rock-solid balance sheet, and best of all a stock that's still cheap."
Meantime, Piper Jaffray also gave Alphabet the nod on Tuesday, kicking off coverage with an overweight rating on what it expects to continue to be a positive shift in the advertising landscape to online from offline.
Shares of Alphabet were down 0.59% at 1,281.24 on Tuesday.