Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Report first-quarter earnings are likely to show the advertising gravy train isn't stopping anytime soon, but Google's hardware aspirations may blunt some of the positive impact from it, impacting margins.
"For GAAP op. margins, we forecast 26.1% vs consensus of 25.7% as we see potential margin pressure from Pixel offset by improving pricing on both mobile and desktop," Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini wrote in a research note previewing earnings.
It's likely that Alphabet's Google unit saw accelerated advertising spend from the robust fourth-quarter, thanks in part to the continued shift to mobile, led by YouTube.
"Our checks with marketing partners pointed to 1Q17 Google spend accelerating from 4Q, with strength in mobile inventory and PLAs somewhat offset by continued mix shift to lower-priced mobile," Bellini added.
Research firm eMarketer wrote in March that it expects Google, along with Facebook FB, to continue adding to their dominance in the ad market, with Google capturing much of the display advertising.
"Google's dominance in search, especially mobile search, is largely coming from the growing tendency of consumers to turn to their smartphones to look up everything from the details of a product to directions," said eMarketer forecasting analyst Monica Peart in a statement. "Google and mobile search as a whole will continue to benefit from this behavioral shift."
In addition to advertising, investors will be looking to see how much it costs to operate Alphabet's Other Bets (which include units like Verily, Nest and others) and whether they're producing revenue significant enough to justify their operating expenses.
Analysts surveyed by Yahoo! Finance expect the company to earn $7.40 a share on $24.22 billion in revenue for the period.
Over the past 12 months, shares of Alphabet have gained nearly 15%, compared to the near 11% gain in the S&P 500.
Here are five ETFs that may benefit if investors like Alphabet's first-quarter results.
iShares U.S. Technology ETF
Goldman Sachs's Bellini, who has a buy rating and a $970 price target on Alphabet, noted the recent advertising snafus at YouTube aren't likely to affect the company long-term, given its 1 billion users and dominance in video.
"Comments from partners indicate that press reports of advertiser concern over YouTube may have been overblown, with partners pointing to little near-term impact and Google's policy reaction mitigating any longer-term fallout," Bellini wrote.
Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund
Pacific Crest Securities analyst Andy Hargreaves noted that in speaking with advertiser, confidence around search advertising was reinforced. "We expect continued strong growth in the core Google business and view GOOGL as very attractively valued at current levels," Hargreaves wrote to investors.
Pacific Crest has an overweight rating and a $1,040 price target on shares.
First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund
Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju noted that shares have underperformed their peers recently and believes that's a temporary lull, with Google Play, YouTube and its cloud computing business increasingly becoming more important.
"We submit that investors should not lose sight of the fact that even as the sheer size of its search business continues to blunt the contributions from other businesses, YouTube, Play, and Cloud collectively should be contributing ~1/3 of Net Revenue within three years," Ju wrote. "And even as we do not model in contribution from Google's other products that have reached >1b users (i.e. Maps), we anticipate free cash flow to grow at a ~17.5% CAGR over the next five years - we hence submit that GOOGL shares should trade higher than its current earnings multiple of ~16x our 2018 non-GAAP EPS estimate."
Vanguard Information Technology ETF
Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF