Don't Give Up on Google

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- In after-hours trading, Google ( GOOG) shares fell to levels not seen since early June.

After the Internet search giant reported disappointing quarterly results, the stock fell a breathtaking $50, but value buyers stepped in to pull Google off the lows. Where Google trades from next is the real question.

In order to answer it, let's examine the quarterly results and what they mean to investors. The hits sinking the share price started with margin compression. Google entered into areas outside its core and highly profitable advertising model, shrinking overall margins. Gross margin fell to 57%, a drop of 2 percentage points from the corresponding period last year.

Net margin fared much better and fell slightly to 23%. I wouldn't get overly anxious about the decline. Changes were or should have been expected as Google expands its offerings.

The next hit investors took is from earnings per share. Google reported $9.56 per share, significantly less than $10.78 the Street was expecting. This is nothing new for Google. The company has missed -- or rather, analysts' expectations have been overly optimistic -- one out of three quarters in the last three years. This explains why the option premium was sky-high into the report.

Again, I don't believe the EPS results were that awful, and based on the price recovery off the lows during Thursday's after-hours trading, the market agrees.

Revenue didn't exactly "get some." Investors were looking for $14.46 billion, and Google received $14.11 billion. This number is significant, even though initially it may not appear so. My takeaway is that Google isn't expanding as fast as Wall Street assumed, at least not for this quarter, and that may constrict the price to earnings multiple.

Compared to Microsoft ( MSFT), Google trades at a 50% relative earnings multiple premium. If investors' lose confidence on top- and bottom-line growth, often measured with more weight on the top line, the share price may not find an easy path higher. Google currently trades near the same multiple assigned to Yahoo! ( YHOO).

Yahoo! continues higher courtesy of CEO Marissa Mayer, who celebrated her first anniversary with the company this week. Also lifting Yahoo!'s shares is the ownership stake in Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. I discuss the relationship in "I Love Yahoo!'s Earnings Results, and You Should, Too."

Mixed in with the medicine was some sugar. YouTube is now making money. It's hard to imagine all those cat and kid's videos could turn a profit, but between the mix of craziness, Google managed to find a way. Video ads and a change in the mix of banner sizes appears to be what was needed. I expect if the company can make a profit now that it can expand well beyond that.

The expansion may include streaming entire movies, much to the chagrin of Netflix ( NFLX). Netflix needs to figure out how to offer more than a one-size-fits-all T-shirt if it wants to make it to the other side. I can't believe Carl Icahn hasn't pushed the C-suite along a little faster, but he probably has his hands full with Dell ( DELL) right now. Even billionaires have only 24 hours in a day.

Bottom Line: Look for Google shares to quickly recover, and carry on their upward momentum into new 52-week highs; don't let the market shake you out.

At the time of publication, Weinstein held no positions in stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Robert Weinstein is an active trader focusing on the psychological importance of risk mitigation, emotion and financial behavior of market participants. Robert co-founded the investing blog StockSaints, where he writes a journal about his trading activity and experiences.

In addition to TheStreet, Robert also contributes to Real Money Pro, providing real-time trading ideas for stocks, options and futures.

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