The accolades keep pouring in for Baidu
If you think you've read this before, you're only partly right. Goldman Sachs jacked up its projected price -- from $273 to $300 -- exactly two weeks ago.
Goldman Sachs isn't the only firm breaking out the pompons for Baidu. Deutsche Bank and Citigroup delivered a pair of analyst upgrades three months ago.
Why does everybody love Baidu these days? Remember when Mr. Market thought that Baidu had the cooties as 2008 ground to a close? The stock traded as low as $100.50 after it was revealed that Baidu was accepting ads from unlicensed medical companies. Investors worried that Chinese netizens might bolt to distant rival Google
The defections never came. Baidu came through with healthy first-quarter growth this year, as revenue clocked in 41% higher for the period. Baidu's mastery of paid search has held up well, even as brand advertising specialists in China like SINA
No one's slamming the brakes on Baidu. If anything, analysts are pressing down on the accelerator. Three months ago, Wall Street was expecting Baidu to earn $5.47 a share this year, and $7.28 a share in 2010. The new profit targets are $5.77 and $8.17 respectively.
The brighter bottom-line outlooks have helped keep valuations somewhat in check, even as the stock has nearly tripled since bottoming out six months ago. Sure, few will call Baidu -- closing yesterday at 35 times next year's profit projection -- cheap. However, you may be kicking yourself for passing up Baidu when it bottomed out in December if you knew it would have been less than 12 times the eventual profit target for 2010 -- or when I first recommended it to Rule Breakers subscribers, when it was still in the double digits less than three years ago.
There are certainly cheaper growth plays in China, like online gaming specialist Perfect World
If you don't see it yet, give Goldman Sachs another two weeks. Who knows how high the price targets will go if the fundamentals continue to follow the share price higher?
Baidu has more than tripled since being singled out to Rule Breakers readers three years ago. Google and Sohu.com are also Breaker picks. SINA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Why are you missing out on these great stock picks? The answer may be waiting in free 30-day passes to any or all of the newsletters.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a fan of China's growth stocks for several years now, even though he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He 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.