Google Parent Alphabet Is Upgraded to Buy From Hold by Analyst at Pivotal Research

Analyst Michael Levine also lifted his price target. He's `encouraged by the durability of revenue growth' at the Internet-search giant.
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Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) - Get Report on Monday was upgraded to buy from hold by an analyst from Pivotal Research, who said he was "encouraged by the durability of revenue growth" at the Internet-search giant.

Analyst Michael Levine also increased his price target for Alphabet to $1,650 a share from $1,445.

The shares were down slightly to $1,356.55 in premarket trading.

Alphabet will outperform the other large-cap Internet names in 2020 as estimates move higher, Levine said in a note to investors.

He said he saw "multiple ways" for shareholders "to get paid" under new CEO Sundar Pichai.

"This change in the guard offers the most optionality for multiple expansion for
the stock we have seen in years,” Levine said.

Pichai took over after Google Co-Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who served as CEO and president of Alphabet respectively, said in December that they were stepping back from management duties.

Pichai joined Google in 2004 and helped develop the Chrome web browser.

Levine also noted Alphabet's potential for expanded disclosures as well as capital allocation strategies.

In October, Alphabet reported GAAP earnings of $10.12 a share, missing Wall Street estimates of $12.32. Earnings per share grew 18% year-over-year.

Revenue was $40.5 billion, beating analysts' consensus estimate of $40.31 billion and growing 20% year-over-year. 

Google's operating margin was 23%, thinner than the year-earlier third quarter's margin of 26% and analysts' expectation of 23.4%.

Google's advertising revenue grew 17% to $33.9 billion. Cost per click grew 3% from the year-earlier third quarter's rate of negative 2%.