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Why Alphabet Inc. Stock Jumped 32.9% in 2017

By Steve Symington - Jan 5, 2018 at 4:55PM

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Google's parent company had a banner year. Here's what investors need to know.

What happened

Shares of Alphabet (GOOG -5.14%)(GOOGL -4.95%) climbed 32.9% in 2017, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the internet search juggernaut's quarterly results repeatedly crushed expectations.

To be sure, shares of the parent company of Google delivered only modest gains over the first few months of the year. But then the stock received its first significant upward jolt with Alphabet's stellar first-quarter 2018 report in late April, which was punctuated by strong growth in ad revenue from both Google's mobile search and YouTube platforms.

Alphabet headquarters building with the Google logo on the side


So what

That's not to say Alphabet's entire year went as planned. In June, the European Commission fined Google a record $2.74 billion for anti-competitive practices -- more specifically claiming that it had unfairly favored its own comparison-shopping service over those of competitors in Google search results. Google unsurprisingly disagreed with the EC's conclusion and is reportedly appealing the decision as it weighs methods to modify its products to appease regulators. But even after absorbing the fine in its entirety as a separate operating expense in the second quarter, Alphabet still managed to generate operating income of more than $3.5 billion in Q2.

Most recently in late October, Alphabet stock eclipsed $1,000 per share for the first time following an even more impressive third-quarter report, including 23.7% growth in revenue to nearly $27.8 billion, and 33% growth in net income to more than $6.7 billion.

Mobile and YouTube shined as relative outperformers once again, but they weren't Alphabet's only catalysts. Non-advertising revenue at Google climbed 40% year over year last quarter to more than $3.4 billion, driven by Cloud, Play, and hardware sales. And revenue from its "Other Bets" segment -- which includes early-stage businesses like Google Fiber high-speed internet, Nest smart-home devices, and Waymo self-driving vehicles -- rose over 53% to $302 million.

Now what

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat humbly called its latest results "terrific," adding that its "momentum is a result of investments over many years in fantastic people, products, and partnerships."

Of course, "many years" is a relative term for a company that was founded in 1998. But in terms of massive growth in revenue and profits from an already enormous base, it's hard to overstate the jaw-dropping momentum that Alphabet's businesses demonstrated last year. And while investors will need to wait until early February for their next quarterly update, it will be no surprise if Alphabet sustains that momentum going forward.

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Alphabet Inc.
$2,119.40 (-4.95%) $-110.36
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Alphabet Inc.
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