Alphabet Added to Wedbush 'Best Ideas List' With Outperform Rating

A Wedbush analyst took over coverage of Alphabet with an outperform rating and a $2,953 price target.
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Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report was added to Wedbush's "Best Ideas List" by an analyst who took over coverage of the parent of search, advertising and cloud giant Google with an outperform rating.

Shares of the Mountain View, Calif. company were up 0.5% to $2,266 in early trading on Wednesday.

Analyst Ygal Arounian, who has a $2,953 price target on the shares, up from Wedbush's previous target of $2,470, said in a research note that he sees "a large market opportunity that we expect to have accelerated coming out of the pandemic."

"Alphabet is well positioned in a number of key areas across its businesses that we think can sustain overall growth in its core ad business [and] drive long-term sustainable top-line growth in its burgeoning Cloud business," he said.

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This positioning, he added, will "also lead to improving margins in Cloud, which can materially improve Alphabet’s overall EBITDA and margins, well ahead of Street estimates in the coming years."

Arounian said the addressable markets in both digital advertising and cloud are large, and that while Google has been a leader in digital advertising for many years, "it has more recently become a leader in cloud services as well."

"The dual strengths of both of these businesses and tailwinds being driven coming out of the pandemic era place Google in a fundamentally unique position in our view," he said.

Arounian said digital advertising was the only format that grew in 2020 as the pandemic disrupted the ad market, and digital was the only one that really came back. 

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"That was largely driven by the mix in advertiser spend to direct response advertising when first coming out of the pandemic, followed by a rebound in brand advertising," he said.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled in Alphabet's favor in a copyright dispute with fellow tech giant Oracle  (ORCL) - Get Report

The justices determined in a 6-2 vote that Google’s use of Oracle’s software code in creating the Android operating system didn’t violate federal copyright law.

In March, Stifel analyst Scott Devitt upgraded Alphabet to buy from hold and raised his price target to $2,350 from $2,025.

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