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Surprise Winner of Facebook Mania: Google

While Facebook nabbed the lion’s share of media attention heading into its record-setting IPO on Friday, an older Internet giant’s stock was quietly rising.

Google (GOOG) shares have jumped more than 7% since Facebook filed for its initial public offering on Feb. 2, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is down about 1%. How to explain this market-beating performance? Some analysts say Google is likely benefiting from the hype surrounding Facebook — and the inability for most regular investors to get in on the IPO at a decent price. It’s also seen as an attractive option for tech investors who can’t stomach the risks of investing in newly public companies, says Devin Pope, a wealth adviser for Albion Financial Group in Salt Lake City. “Google is a way to get exposure to social media without the risks and some of the potential unknowns from a company like Facebook,” he says.

Indeed, despite all the pent-up demand for shares of Facebook, advisers say there are plenty of reasons to not buy in. First, most IPOs lose money, studies show, with even the hottest stock offerings popping soon after their first day of trading. Young companies also haven’t shown they can earn stable revenue, making it difficult for investors to measure their true worth, says Pope. They may also make blunders when reporting their financial results, he says, as happened with Groupon  shortly after it went public.

Google, on the other hand, has been reporting earnings for years and has demonstrated profitability, analysts say. It also maintains a strong hold on the online advertising business, unaffected by Facebook’s gains in that area, says Rick Summer, a senior equity analyst for Morningstar. Google successfully expanded its search capacity — and those ads — through its other services like Google maps, Gmail and Google places — a good sign for investors who want to see growth, says Summer.

And yet Summer says Google remains decently priced – even with the recent run-up — making it even more attractive to value-conscious investors. Morningstar puts the fair valuation of Google at $780 a share, 20% more than the stock’s current price. Facebook, on the other hand, it has a fair value of $32 a share, making the $38 IPO price expensive. “If you’re going to make an investment in the sector we think it’s a no brainer that you should be allocating money toward Google,” says Summer.

Investors are “friending” other tech stocks, too. LinkedIn (LNKD), the professional networking site, is up 45% since February, while Apple has gained 16%. “There’s a halo effect and I think it goes beyond Google,” says Milo Benningfield, a financial adviser based in San Francisco. “Facebook is the rising tide that is raising all the boats.”


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    • By WebOsPublisher

      How do you share and view share files in a Windows XP SP2 computer using a wireless home network? | Windows Questions (Win98, WinXP, Vista, Windows7)
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    • Exactly. This IPO wanted investors to think they were buying into another Apple or Google on the ground floor, but it’s not like that at all.

      They won’t be able to monetize or meet (hugely inflated) expectations. Fundamentally, FB is different from Apple or Google — read why.

    • February’s average price for Google was $610 today it’s at $600. Where is this so called 7% gain?

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