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) --


(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report


sales growth pace

was enough to convince some analysts that a recovery may be afoot.

But comparing sales to last year could make almost anything look favorable.

A year ago

, our banking system seized and went on life support. Since then, business conditions have improved a bit. With a disaster in the rearview mirror, everything ahead can look like a recovery.

"While there is obviously a lot of uncertainty about the pace of economic recovery, we believe the worst of the recession is behind us and we're seeing lots of signs of that," Google chief Eric Schmidt told analysts on an earnings call late Thursday.

Google's dominance as the top ad seller on the Internet certainly helps improve the company's prospects. Search ads -- still a relatively new medium -- have been targeted by ad buyers looking to shift their spending from TV, radio and print. In other words, Google's success is built on new technology and the ability to siphon business from offline sources.

And the analysts' view on Google is certainly sunny, given the fresh round of


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increases, which include a $700 mark set by Canaccord Adams.

See Google's price targets.

The current fourth quarter should be a bright spot for recovery watchers as year-over-year comparisons stand to cast the new numbers in a favorable light.


(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

is the only one of the five tech titans that isn't expected to show sales growth in the fourth quarter. It is also the only member of the group that doesn't have the benefit of a strong product cycle.


(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report

iPhone and Mac strength are expected to put sales up over 12% from December year-ago levels.


(MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report

Windows 7 hits the shelves next week, contributing to the nearly 3% growth target. And


(INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report

new low-powered chips and next generation processors are in notebooks headed to the market for the holidays.

The takeaway: Put a year's distance on disaster and add strong product cycles, and you may arrive at some easy comparisons.