Google's Quiet Return to $700

 | Dec 11, 2012 | 11:03 AM EST  | Comments
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In case you hadn't noticed, Google (GOOG) broached $700 earlier this morning.

These past few weeks, the focus of the tech media has been on Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and even Yahoo! (YHOO) and Research In Motion (RIMM).

But what about Google?

The stock never had nearly as long a fall as Apple did, which has been declining from its all-time September high of $705. Google got up to an all-time peak of $774 in October, then dropped to $639 by the middle of last month. That's a 17% drop from the all-time high, whereas Apple's decline was 25% at the steepest point.

Now, with Google back to the $700 area, the stock has seen nearly a 10% gain from the lows.

What's been working for this name? Well, while Apple is the largest company out there, and has a target on its back as a result, Google does not. Because of that, its critics are less vociferous about future growth prospects, and market players don't use it like a cash machine for rebalancing in the same way they do Apple.

Google has also been keeping its head down, doing great search as its YouTube segment continues to take off. It's in the middle of the year-end quarter, and some reports say the company has seen positive results from its switch to paid listings in the "shopping" module.

Google is scheduled to report earnings in January, and there's likely little chance it will disappoint. We might see more evidence here of a lower cost-per-click rate due to the mobile shift, but that should be countered with the increased paid clicks -- which, again, seem poised to get a big boost the from shopping-module shift.

I think the stock will continue on its upward trajectory through the spring and summer, with a probable rise to the $800 area in store. The shares are in a nice little air pocket right here.

When the January report emerges, it will also be interesting to see what impact, if any, Google took from Apple's move in the latest iPhone operating system this quarter -- swapping the Google Maps app with its own Maps offering.

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