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Friday, April 18, 2008

More Google (GOOG). Not like you're going to be able to take your eyes off it today anyway.

During the insanity of 1999, I couldn't handle the valuations of a lot of the stocks I was following. Everything was triple digits. I wasn't used to it. As a coping mechanism, I started looking at the moves on a percentage basis. Early on I knew I was going to have to do that with Google. ITS UP SEV-EN-TY DOLLARS!!!! No. Google is up 15% in pre-market trading.

Make no mistake. This is a relief rally. The stock has been compressed on poor industry tracking data (comScore) and economic slowdown fears. Click-throughs did slow -- their growth there is experiencing half-lives. Click throughs were 45% y/y in 3Q:07, 30% y/y in 4Q:07 and now 20% y/y in 1Q:08. Unquestionably that's a negative trajectory.

Revenue growth has slowed. US growth was a mere 1%. International was over 50% of business and there's a big currency benefit there.

After many quarters of Google management warning of rising operating expenditures it finally hit the P&L -- costs rose both on an infrastructure basis and in traffic acquisition costs. It's costing them more to generate this slowing revenue. They're getting pretty big and that makes sense.

My guess is the stock is going to touch $560 (up another 6% from here) and it should be sold. Business is better than the guys selling at 440 thought it was, but at $560 you're telegraphing a compound annual growth rate in the high 20s and the way they're decelerating, that's probably too much.

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