Google’s Amazing Ride Continues

A truly awesome display of buying momentum was shown by Internet search engine Google Inc. (NASDDAQ/GOOG) last Friday, when the rapidly rising Internet star surged nearly $40 or 13%. With the surge, the stock traded as high as $349.30 on Monday, equating to an incredible market-cap of $97.54 billion! That ranks it 19th as far as the market-cap of U.S. stocks goes.

 That is simply amazing for a stock that only debuted in August 2004. At that time, the $100 IPO price was thought to be somewhat overly ambitious. We now know it wasn’t. And one of the biggest Google bulls on the Street, James J. Cramer of TheStreet.Com Inc. (NASDAQ/TSCM) believes the stock has more significant upside ahead. I would side with Cramer on this one.

 I have talked about Google in the past, saying that, in spite of its rapid price appreciation, the stock’s valuation, given its superlative growth potential, is not out of whack versus its peer group. In fact, even at the current price of $344, the stock does not look overvalued relative to its peer group.

 Earnings wise, Google has beaten consensus estimates by an average of 20.78% in each of the last four straight quarters since its IPO. But just take a look at its growth predictions versus those of Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ/YHOO) and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ/EBAY). Google’s earnings growth this year is estimated at a whooping 113.9% versus 54.1% and 37.7% for Yahoo! and eBay, respectively. Google’s estimated FY06 earnings growth is expected to come in at 43.2%, well ahead of 29.8% and 20.2% for Yahoo! and eBay, respectively.

 Now, take a look at Google’s estimated earnings growth over the next five years at 32%, versus 30% and 27.5% for Yahoo! and eBay, respectively. It is very clear that Google is the top Internet stock at this time. Its growth is spectacular, and, given what we have seen so far, the numbers may even be conservative.

 Some of you may be tempted to jump in at this point, but you may want to wait to buy on a dip, as the stock is technically overbought. I would even suggest playing the options market with call options or bullish call spreads in an effort to reap the upside potential and manage the risk. If you’re thinking of shorting the stock, I advise otherwise — the momentum risk is too high.