Alphabet (GOOGL) stock falls as ad business disappoints, analysts remain positive

February 3, 2023 6:38 AM EST
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Price: $105.44 -0.15%

Rating Summary:
    37 Buy, 2 Hold, 0 Sell

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    Up: 9 | Down: 10 | New: 12
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Shares of Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) are trading over 4% in the red in pre-open Friday after Google's parent company reported results for the fourth quarter.

Alphabet reported earnings of $1.05 per share on revenue of $76.05 billion, below the consensus for earnings of $1.18 per share on revenue of $76.07B. Google advertising, Google Services, and YouTube all missed expectations as the core-ad business continues to show signs of a slowdown.

"We have significant work underway to improve all aspects of our cost structure, in support of our investments in our highest growth priorities to deliver long-term, profitable growth," the company said.

As expected, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai addressed concerns that the company is falling behind in an artificial intelligence (AI) race.

“Our long-term investments in deep computer science make us extremely well-positioned as AI reaches an inflection point, and I’m excited by the AI-driven leaps we’re about to unveil in Search and beyond,” Pichai said in a press release.

The company’s management also addressed the AI topic on a call, saying it is positive about its leadership position in this sector. AI was also a major topic for analysts as Google offers great exposure to this market, estimated to be worth around $1 trillion.

“We reiterate our positive outlook on GOOGL - we continue to see Alphabet as the leading collection of AI/machine learning-driven businesses in our coverage universe and view the company as uniquely positioned to capitalize on the blurring of the lines between advertising, commerce and media consumption business models in the years ahead. Alphabet remains well positioned to capitalize on rising utility across a number of computing platforms including consumer desktop, consumer mobile & enterprise cloud computing,” Goldman Sachs analyst Eric Sheridan wrote in a client note.

Roth Capital Partners analyst Rohit Kulkarni expects GOOGL shares “to stay in a tight range in 1H23” after yesterday’s results.

“We expect GOOGL shares to remain under pressure over the near term as we don't foresee a positive catalyst over the next few months. Incremental cost-cutting initiatives might help the shares break out above our current PT. All else being equal, we'd be aggressive buyers on weakness below “low $90s,” the analyst wrote.

By Senad Karaahmetovic

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