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Priceline Could Beat Google to $1,000

It's been five months since I offered up four stocks that could get to $1,000 before Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) .

One of them went on to do exactly that. Two of the other three don't have much of a shot to hit four figures any time soon. However, then we get to (NASDAQ: PCLN  ) .

It's going to be quite the footrace between these two.

The search engine leader continues to trade at a higher level than the fast-growing travel portal, but Priceline's making up ground here. Priceline stock has gone on to climb 29% to hit $888.63. Google -- with its 14% gain in that time -- closed at $905.09 yesterday.

I'm a fan of both companies, but I still believe that Priceline will be the first of the two dot-com darlings to break through the $1,000 barrier.

Priceline's latest move higher came on a 4% pop yesterday, with the Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt boosting his rating from equal weight to overweight. Devitt also pushed his price target to $1,010, becoming the first of the nearly two dozen major analysts following Priceline to offer up a four-figure goal.

There are already a few analysts -- including Bernstein Research's Carlos Kirjner and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets' James Lee -- perched at $1,000 price targets when it comes to Google.

Neither stock may seem cheap these days. Google is trading at 20 times this year's projected earnings and 17 times next year's forecast. Priceline's fetching pricier multiples of 23 for this year and 19 come 2014.

Both companies have earned their markups, though Priceline is growing faster. Wall Street's betting on 16% growth at Google for both this year and 2014. Analysts see Priceline growing at a healthy 23% clip in 2013 and a still respectable 20% rate next year.

The competitive climate may seem to give Google the leg up here given the cutthroat nature of travel portals and Google's safe standing as the global leader in search, but Priceline's been finding ways to grow a lot faster than its market for years.

Priceline is also in a slightly better position to build on its profitability if the global economy continues to gain traction. Google advertisers will naturally be willing to spend more if the economy's improving, but there should be a more dramatic uptick in the demand for corporate and leisure travel under that scenario to benefit Priceline.

Priceline and Google will both get to $1,000, and one or both may get there by the end of the year if the bullish trends continue. I see Priceline being the first one to cross that line, but the comment box below is waiting for you if you care to disagree.

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  • Report this Comment On July 10, 2013, at 12:16 PM, artheen wrote:

    Google's split this year may probably come before it crosses the $1000 mark!

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