Google parent Alphabet joins US$1,000-a-share club

NEW YORK • Alphabet, Google's parent company, has seen its stock top US$1,000 (S$1,380), six days after Amazon.com crossed the same threshold, showing the sustained investor confidence that tech giants can outmatch older firms.

Amazon's rise reflected a bullishness in e-commerce, coming despite bigger sales in bricks-and-mortar retail. Likewise, Alphabet shareholders see that TV ad budgets will continue to gravitate online, where Google dominates.

Alphabet's transition just under two years ago to a portfolio structure has also buoyed investor confidence in the stock.

Alphabet's shares hit US$1,003.76 at 12.18pm in New York on Monday, about a 38 per cent increase since August 2015 when Google became Alphabet, splitting off its audacious, earlier-stage ventures from the core Internet business. 

During that time, chief financial officer Ruth Porat oversaw cuts to the firm's massive spending bill and decelerations on some pricey initiatives, like its fibre broadband service and drones.

Alphabet issued a rare share buyback last year.

Google's primary ad business has kept expanding too, dodging any threat from the spread of mobile devices. Ad revenue reached US$21.4 billion in the first quarter, a 19 per cent annual leap. And the firm has shown signs of growth in its cloud-computing business, an area of massive investment internally.

Along with cloud computing, Google has put considerable investment into artificial intelligence, such as voice computing. Many investors believe that investment positions Google well to hedge against any threats to its Web search business that a shift in computing brings.

Along with cloud computing, Google has put considerable investment into artificial intelligence, such as voice computing. Many investors believe that investment positions Google well to hedge against any threats to its Web search business that a shift in computing brings.

Prospects for the one-time "moonshots" - the company's experiments in industries such as healthcare and transportation, now called the "Other Bets" - have looked brighter this year.

Meanwhile, Alphabet's medical business, Verily, has closed a US$800 million outside investment from Temasek Holdings.

Alphabet cut investment in its fibre broadband service, a move investors seemed to cheer for the slowdown of capital in a competitive industry.

Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car unit, is in a position to lead the competitive autonomous transit market, said a note last month from Morgan Stanley. The analysts wrote that the unit could be worth US$70 billion by 2030 - a prospective value that is not baked into Alphabet's share price.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2017, with the headline 'Google parent Alphabet joins US$1,000-a-share club'. Print Edition | Subscribe