This has been a big week for Google
Then we have Google as an investment. The stock went public in the summer of 2004 at $85 a pop and has muscled its way above the $400 mark with ease. Are the gains warranted? Is Google headed for a fall?
This week, I once again turn to the Motley Fool CAPS community to see what its members think about the stock that's making big waves on Wall Street.
Go, go, Google
Google has clawed its way up to become a $130 billion company, but quite a few everyday investors just like you believe that still brighter days lie ahead. Let's check in with what some of them have been saying in CAPS.
Google will continue to dominate other search engine wannabes. Look for Q3 results to again exceed analyst expectations. Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO)stumbles with poor execution and Google eats its lunch. Target of $500 by Q2 2007.
Google is about to shift gears from online-only revenue to making money everywhere around us. TV, radio, billboards -- Google isn't a search engine, it's the most powerful advertising engine in the world. Or will be in a few years.
Google will eventually overtake Microsoft
(NASDAQ:MSFT)in just about everything Microsoft does. Everything Google touches turns to gold, and users seem to want to love Google and everything about them. Their Web-based spreadsheets and whatnot could eventually trump Microsoft Office, and if they ever went after the MP3 market, I wouldn't be surprised if they could topple Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL)iPod.
Bill Miller likes it, so I like it ... for about a year. They have lots of cash, are kicking off lots more ... but I don't think they have the vision, model, or discipline to sustain it over the long haul, beyond their core business. They were great when they were 500 really smart people all drinking the same Kool-Aid. But are their last few thousand hires equally smart? Or do they just think they are?
Assuming static price, growth in ads business is expected to taper off. Just a sample of assumptions:
2006 growth = 90% => P/E in Jan. '07 = 45
2007 growth = 50% => P/E in Jan. '08 = 30
2008 growth = 30% => P/E in Jan. '09 = 23
Looking at this, I would say Google is not overpriced. If its plans to monetize its free products [work] out well, these numbers might be even better.
Not ready too ogle Google
Naturally, not everyone loves Google. Of the 1,567 CAPS investors who have an opinion on the company, 709 believe the shares will underperform the market. Let's see what some of the bears are saying.
OK -- seriously. The company is priced to perfection on a mythical presumption of growth four to five years from now that may never materialize. It'd be worth looking at around half its current price, and perhaps at a quarter its current price it might be considered value territory.
Thanks to the huge hype potential and the old saying "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent," I'm not shorting this company in real life. But in CAPS, I'll take a shot at underperform.
Click fraud. Wiki information searches. Divulging their relevance criteria and information linkage models allows people to pimp the system too easily. They need to push into much more sophisticated models to create more than a useful source for simply finding sites for commercial transactions. Once they begin to stumble, watch the metric of R&D funding to sales. If a sharp decline occurs, it will precede a collapse of the shares.
It doesn't feel good to do this to my favorite search engine, but do I really have a choice? Business will likely continue to be good, but the company isn't magic. Even if the price doesn't decline significantly, it's going to take a while for the earnings to catch up to the price.
Overvalued. Bloated. Ridiculously priced growth for a company its size. Et cetera, et cetera.
Way overpaid for YouTube. People like websites like YouTube partially because of the lack of regulation. A big company like Google won't be able to keep all the copyrighted material on it, content will suffer, viewership will drop. The price is going to be sticky on the way down, but at some point people will realize that the earnings that they're paying for just aren't there.
1. Google AdSense is not going to power 30% earnings growth for the next five years.
2. They put all of the $2 billion from their IPO into research. Research is great, but you can spend $2 billion on research and get nothing back -- ask Defense Advanced Research Products Agency or the National Institutes of Health.
3. The business model "Let's gear up to compete against Microsoft!" has not, historically, been a big winner.
Searching for a better portfolio
Clearly, it's been two great years for Google investors. The next few years promise to be more challenging, yet not necessarily any less intriguing. Will it manage to swipe back its dwindling market share in China from Baidu
Yes, Google loves to leave us with plenty of questions, but that's perfectly fitting, since it's the top draw when folks need to start looking for answers.
So is Google just what your portfolio is searching for, or is the search engine better off left unfound? Are you a Google bull? Are you a Google bear? The best way to get your voice heard is to join the fray and share some thoughts of your own.
Motley Fool CAPS is a new community-driven experience where individual investors pool their knowledge to seek out superior stock ideas. Are you up for the challenge? Go ahead and give it a shot .
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz learned to swim at an early age, so he doesn't fear diving into the community pool. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy .