San Francisco: Google Inc shares set an all-time high on Monday, with the Web giant's reliable advertising business back in vogue among Wall Street investors disenchanted with younger social media companies.
The stock reached USD 748.90 in afternoon trading, inching past a previous record set in November 2007 of USD 747.24. It traded below USD 300 in 2009 during the global economic crisis and remained under pressure in the ensuing years as investors worried that Google's best years were behind it.
The world's No.1 search engine, which generated USD 38 billion in revenue last year, now looks increasingly attractive compared with a new crop of social Web companies, analysts say.
Facebook Inc, as well as once-hot companies Zynga Inc and Groupon Inc, came to the public markets amid sky-high expectations during the past year, but have fallen out of favor on concerns about their future business prospects.
Google's lucrative search advertising business, as well as its efforts expanding into display and mobile advertising, have helped the company maintain robust revenue growth.
The stock was up almost 2 percent at USD 748.20 in early afternoon trade. It has surged roughly 27 percent since mid-July, compared with the Dow Jones Industrial Average's roughly 6 percent gain and a 9.5 percent rise on the Nasdaq.
But at roughly 17 times expected 2012 earnings, it still trades at a hefty discount to Facebook's roughly 47 price-earnings multiple.
Google's rising stock price comes about a year-and-a-half after co-founder Larry Page returned to the chief executive's role, replacing Eric Schmidt, who had the helm of the Web company for the previous decade.
Page has moved aggressively to pare the company's sprawling portfolio of products, eliminating projects involving green energy and health among others, while stepping up Google's social networking efforts.
But many of the challenges that pressured its stock in the past have not gone away. The company's ability to manage the USD 12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility -- Google's first major foray into the lower-margin hardware business -- remains unproven.
And Google is now facing significant regulatory scrutiny around the world, including antitrust investigations in the United States and in Europe.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 09:35