This column was originally published on RealMoney on July 14 at 2:24 p.m. EDT.

It's not the darned price targets that matter, sillies, it is the estimates! Or more important, the direction of the estimates and who uses them to lead!



(GOOG) - Get Report


Everyone went wild this morning about Lehman raising the price target for Google. I could care less about price targets. What mattered was that Lehman went to what is known as Street High on the estimates. He staked out new ground, boldly going where no other human has gone yet, namely $7.53 for next year.

That's $7.53 in profits, not revenue, not eyeballs, not unique visitors.That's a huge number. Before Lehman staked out the high ground, the highest analyst on the Street was at $7.18. He took his numbers well beyond that analyst, an unsuspecting formerly high man from Legg Mason.

That number bump, that new ground, enables guys like me to put a multiple on the earnings -- we have to pay something for them, that's what the stock-pricing process is about, paying for future growth.

Guys like me say, OK, if we are paying 60 times earnings for



, and Google is growing faster than Yahoo! -- which it most surely is -- why not pay 60 times earnings for Google now with $7.50? That equals $450 per share!! Remember, P/E times E equals price of stock.

Now why doesn't someone just use a $450 number? Too bullish, we are all too chastised.

Even me


That's why I say price targets don't matter. What matters is the earnings estimates, and that they keep going higher.

Let's use a less-supercharged example, but every bit as good:


(INTC) - Get Report


This morning, RBC Capital Markets' Apjit Walia, the ax in Intel, the man who has had the highest


forecasts for Intel all year -- and has been dead right -- took his revenue forecast for the third quarter to $10.2 billion. That's much higher than anyone else. Much higher. Jefco is at $10.01 billion, J.P. Morgan at $9.95 billion, Bear Stearns at $9.84 billion and so on.

Now, you could say wait a second, that's not earnings, it is revenue. But Intel is a revenue times gross margin story. If you figure that Intel's gross margins are going higher, and revenue is going higher, then you get the possibility of earnings estimates -- currently at $1.45 for this year and $1.56 for next -- are probably

way too low

, and you need to pay more


for the stock.

Yes, estimates, not the targets, are what controls.

These numbers, Google's earnings and Intel's revenue, are going higher, that's why the stocks are going higher.

That's why you would be nuts to rent them, and you would be sane to own them.

Get long, stay long. Numbers are going up. That's what you need to know.

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At the time of publication, Cramer was long Intel and Yahoo!.

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