The Investor’s Report Card: Is GOOG a buy?

I think it’s safe to say that anyone reading this knows what Google is. Chances are you used Google search to get to this very page.

Although they started out as just a search engine company, today Google’s reach extends just about everywhere. And their influence keeps growing and growing. Processing a billion searches a day and offering a vast array of innovative and diverse web products, you could say the online world sort of runs on Google. Luckily their unofficial slogan is “Don’t be evil”. So you don’t have to worry too much about the inevitable Google global domination.

Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were still students at Stanford, Google had its initial public offering, or IPO, towards the end of 2004, making shares of the company available to the general population.

Google’s initial public offering took place on August 19, 2004 when a total of 19,605,052 shares priced at $85 per share hit the market. Demand for the tech giant meant that the stock opened at $100, representing a 17% increase on the offer price. After the IPO, Google’s stock soared and within a year the stock had quadrupled in value! By 2006, the firm was included in the S&P 500, the stock market index often used as a representation of the U.S. economy.

They haven’t stopped there either; the stock has continuously increased I price over the years, and just broke the $1000 mark this month. The stock’s growth has been marked by its relative stability, barring a significant dip during the recent recession.

Like many others, we here at WSS wondered. . .is it too late to jump on the Google bandwagon? To answer that question, we turn to the greats for advice. Let’s take a look at how the following investors would rate Google today…

What would Warren Buffet do?

Well, luckily for us, Buffet has gone on record saying what he would do; he would not buy Google.Buffet is a value investor, someone who selects stocks and companies that are undervalued by the market. These companies also need to have some sort of solid financial foundation (not a lot of debt, steady revenues, etc). On the face of it, Google seems to fit the bill; it has consistently increasing revenues and earnings, but experts tend to agree that Google is probably overvalued.

Buffet advises investors to stay away from companies they don’t understand, and Buffet didn’t understand tech companies.

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