Merrill Lynch Bullish on Alphabet Inc (GOOGL) Amid Waze Carpool Pilot Expansion

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) intends to add on to its Waze navigation app with a new carpooling service, which will be available to the San Fransisco public starting early Fall this year. Alphabet’s first tests started with Waze in Israel in 2015, followed by a May 2016 pilot program launch near California headquarters.

In its next progression, 25,000 San Fransisco employees who work for large firms, such as Wal-Mart and Adobe, will gain access to the pilot, with a two-ride-a-day limit for commutes. Eventually, the goal is to initiate a roll-out for all Waze app users in San Fransisco.

On back of this news, Merrill Lynch top analyst Justin Post reiterates a Buy rating on GOOGL with a price target of $960, which represents a 21% increase from where the shares last closed.

“We view the recent events (exit from Uber, carpool pilot, potential carpool expansion) as further testament to Google’s long-term commitment to the transportation market and achievement of autonomous driving. […] In the meantime, tougher growth comps remain the biggest issue for Alphabet in 3Q, but we continue to like the stock and see several potential product catalysts in 2H including: 1) search improvements (coverage, targeting, ad formats), 2) YouTube traction, 3) new ad initiatives (maps) and 4) new product launches (Home, Allo, Duo),” he concludes.

According to TipRanks, which measures analysts’ and bloggers’ success rate based on how their calls perform, top five-star analyst Justin Post has achieved a high ranking of #15 out of 4,132 analysts. Post upholds a 75% success rate and yields 19.7% in his annual returns. When recommending GOOGL, Post earns 27.4% in average profits on the stock.

TipRanks analytics exhibit GOOGL as a Strong Buy. Based on 32 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 31 rate a Buy on GOOGL, while 1 maintains a Hold. The consensus price target stands at $942.84, marking a 19% upside from where the stock is currently trading.

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