Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) broke through $1,000 on Friday.
You've probably tired of hearing about this milestone. It's huge! It means nothing! Everyone's talking about it, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of agreement as to what it means exactly.
I guess one can say that I took it personally. I singled out four stocks that could get to $1,000 before Google back in February. It was a novel concept at the time, but the original article did find me on CNBC defending some of my choices.
I argued that homebuilder NVR (NYSE: NVR ) , travel portal operator priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN ) , consumer tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) , and Chinese search engine leader Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU ) could hit four figures before Google.
Two of the picks did beat Big G to the $1,000 club. NVR did it shortly after the article, but it was also the highest priced of the stocks. It didn't last. NVR eventually slipped below $1,000 -- where it remains today -- as investors have taken profits on real estate developers. NVR continues to grow, but it actually missed Wall Street's profit targets in its two most recent quarters.
I was right about Priceline, too. This was a gutsier call, since it was trading below $700 at the time. Google was breaking through $800. Priceline's healthy growth -- spearheaded more by the success of its international properties than its namesake "name your own price" site -- has delivered the kind of financial performance that investors don't mind paying up for.
The long shots at the time were Apple and Baidu, and they continue to trade well below $1,000. This doesn't mean that those stocks have been disappointments. Apple has only risen 13% in that time, but that's not too shabby for a company that has seen sales grow flat, profitability decline, and every product line outside of the iconic iPhone slip in popularity.
Baidu has held up far better. It's actually been the best performer of the five -- soaring 88% since the February article -- but it was also the only stock trading in double digits at the time. Making it into the triple digits was going to be a challenge, and it cleared it. It was naturally going to be a lot harder to break through $1,000.
Baidu has managed to bounce back as strong growth and a push into mobile have helped ease competitiveness concerns. However, it wasn't a realistic call. Then again, Baidu did declare a 10-for-1 split three years ago. So, in a sense, one can argue that it would've broken into the equivalent of four figures when it busted through the $100 barrier in May.
None of this should take away from Google's achievements. A strong quarterly report last week -- fueled by a huge uptick in the volume of paid clicks generated -- warranted the boost to the meaty milestone that NVR enjoyed temporarily, Priceline is now sharing, and Apple and Baidu will eventually hit if they continue to do things the right way.
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