A Glimpse Into Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) Before The Earnings Curtain Rises Tonight

Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is set to report its first-quarter earnings after US markets close today (April 27). After missing estimates for earnings per share (EPS) in its recent quarter, investors will be watching the company’s profitability closely.

Wells Fargo analyst Peter Stabler expects a solid quarter despite YouTube brand safety concerns, where he expects limited impact in the quarter and believes GOOGL’s quick response to advertiser concerns should also result in limited negative impact in 2Q and the remainder of 2017.

Stabler says, “Beyond headline financial results, we expect investors to focus on GOOGL’s cloud business, where the company’s annual Google Cloud Platform Next summit underscored the company’s increasing push for enterprise cloud business, and potential competitive incursion by AMZN on retail-related search budgets, given recent improved disclosure from AMZN on the scale and growth of their ad business.”

Yet, is there a new threat rising to steal the throne from Alphabet? From Stabler’s stance, he can’t help questioning whether Amazon is “a rapidly emerging competitor for retail/product ad budgets? […] We believe the scale and growth of AMZN’s ad business is an increasing area of focus for investors, presenting questions regarding whether it can steal material share of ad budgets in the retail and product manufacturer ad categories from Google.”

However, overall, the analyst is largely confident in the tech giant’s standing as the leading search provider across the globe and is putting his faith in GOOGL’s cloud.

Echoing continued bullish conviction backing the giant, Cantor analyst Kip Paulson likewise sees growth ahead for Alphabet. For the first quarter of the year, the analyst anticipates “solid” results, projecting net revenue of $19,670.2 million and adjusted EBITDA of $9,586.8 million, aligning with FactSet consensus expectations of $19,764 million in net revenue and $$9,768 million in adjusted EBITDA.

“We expect results to be largely in line with Street estimates, reflecting solid revenue growth for core Google (+19% Y/Y), driven primarily by continued strength in mobile search, YouTube, and programmatic. Intra-quarter checks indicated a continuation of healthy doubledigit search growth in the first quarter, and for the long term, we continue to expect Alphabet to be one of the primary beneficiaries of a rapidly rising digital ad market. Although news of AT&T, Verizon, and others pulling ads from Google’s non-search platforms in late-March was headline negative, we don’t expect a material negative impact given end-of-quarter timing, the limited number of advertisers involved, and the fact that the actions affected only non-search budgets,” concludes Paulson, projecting “healthy growth ahead” waiting in the wings for the giant.

According to TipRanks, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, analysts Peter Stabler and Kip Paulson have a yearly average return of 22.8% and 12.3%, respectively. Stabler has a success rate of 80% and is ranked #279 out of 4,571 analysts, while Paulson has a success rate of 83% and is ranked #1,476 out of 4,571.

TipRanks analytics show GOOGL as a Strong Buy. Out of 22 analysts polled by TipRanks in the last 3 months, 17 are bullish on Alphabet stock, 4 remain sidelined, and 1 is bearish on the stock. With a return potential of 10%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $983.33.

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