Google tops $700 for first time since 2007September 7, 2012: 12:07 PM ET
Just days after Google (GOOG) turned 14, shares topped the $700 mark for the first time since 2007. Shares hit a new 52-week high of $712.25 Friday. That's less than 5% below its all-time high of a little more than $747.
The stock may have lagged the broader tech market during the past five years, but it seems to be hitting a growth spurt in its teen years. Shares have spiked 11% in the past month. That's not too bad for a youngster.
Take a look at some of its competitors. Facebook (FB), for example, has had one of the toughest starts as a public company. Its stock has dropped 7% over the past month and, at $19, it's way below its IPO price. Still, the one bright spot for the social network is the fact that its shares are still valued at a whopping 36 times earnings forecasts. And Yahoo (YHOO), which is hoping its turnaround story has just begun, has declined 6% over the past month.
Ultimately, Google's slow and steady moves look like they're paying off. Analysts are forecasting Google's earnings per share to jump 18% this year, and 16%, on average, over the next few years. At 16 times 2012 earnings forecasts, the stock is pretty fairly priced.
It's not like Google doesn't face any headwinds. Apple's (AAPL) big courtroom victory over Samsung could prove problematic since Samsung is the biggest Android user and if Apple continues to wage a war against Android, Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility could wind up being a costly mistake. Earlier this week, Google's Motorola division unveiled three new smartphones that it claims will give Apple's iPhone 4S a run for its money.
Speaking of money, Google likes to spend and occasionally manages to make bets that don't pan out as well as hoped.
Still, Google's trio of leaders, CEO Larry Page, fellow co-founder Sergey Brin, and chairman Eric Schmidt, have steered the ship pretty well.