Google shares gallop to new highs; stock up 700 percent since 2004

by Caroline Valetkevitch, Reuters.com  |  published on March 6, 2013

Surfboards lean against a wall at the Google office in Santa Monica

These days Google Inc is on a roll, making it the $800 gorilla in the room. Its shares hit an all-time closing high of $821.50 on Monday and some securities analysts are already forecasting the search company could soon be a $1,000 stock.

Its surge to new highs has come as its Android software dominates the mobile phone market and it continues to lead in mobile advertising. The gains have put Google firmly in third place among U.S. companies in terms of market value after Apple Inc and Exxon Mobil Corp.

Google has been on a steep rise since late last year, hitting new highs multiple times, and is up 16.1 percent since the start of the year. That makes it the highest-priced stock in the S&P 500 by more than $100 and puts it within striking distance of the median analyst price target of $851 a share, according to Reuters data.

“It seems to be the big momentum stock right now,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management in Chicago, whose firm does not own Google.

At least two brokerages – Sanford Bernstein and Credit Agricole Securities – believe the stock could hit $1000 a share before long and several others have a price target of more than $900.

Still, at least one insider, has decided it is time to bail out of a big slab of his stock. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt recently filed to sell roughly 42 percent of his stake in the Internet search company, citing “individual asset diversification and liquidity,” according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

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