Updated from 10:52 a.m.Google gave the flagging Internet sector hope Monday with news that its initial public offering is drawing strong demand. The search-engine company said in a regulatory filing that it expects to raise as much as $3.32 billion in its hotly anticipated IPO. Google pegged the per-share price at between $108 and $135. The top end of that range is half again as much as some observers had expected, and puts the company's price-to-earnings ratio well into the triple digits. The positive development comes at a crucial time for pricey Net stocks. After a robust first half of the year, these companies have been hit hard this month amid growing worries about valuations and competition. Investors grew skeptical after Yahoo!'s ( YHOO) less-than-scintillating second-quarter earnings report three weeks ago, and the sector's prospects appeared even dimmer after earnings setbacks at Amazon ( AMZN) and eBay ( EBAY). Now, with Google's IPO drawing strong interest, investors hope that the company's rivals -- ranging from giants like Yahoo! and Microsoft ( MSFT) to also-rans like Ask Jeeves ( ASKJ) and FindWhat ( FWHT) -- will see their shares bid up as well. Early Monday, shares in the big Internet stocks were narrowly mixed, with eBay down a penny at $75, Yahoo! up 19 cents at $28.38 and Amazon up 19 cents to $40.17.
Google said in Monday's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that its stock will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker GOOG. The disclosure comes just two weeks after the company chose the Nasdaq over its archrival the New York Stock Exchange, continuing a long trend in which hot technology companies list with the computer-based exchange. The company will sell 24.6 million shares, about 14 million of which will represent new equity being sold by the company. The rest will be shares sold by insiders, including Yahoo!, which is selling 550,000 shares, and America Online, selling 83,000.