October 12, 2011 / 3:43 PM / in 6 years

Global Equities raises Google price target to $700

(Reuters) - Google Inc’s search market share remains stable as it gains market share on the search monetization front, Global Equities Research said and raised its price target on the Internet giant’s shares to $700 from $650.

The gap between Facebook and Google+ (Google Plus), Google’s newly launched social networking tool, is also set to reduce, the brokerage said.

“Google Plus is off to a very strong start, with probably more than 55 million user signups so far. Google may launch many more new Google Plus Service offerings within the next 3 - 6 months,” analyst Trip Chowdhry wrote in a note.

The brokerage added that the launch of a new advertisement format called TrueView on Google’s YouTube has helped raise advertisement spending on the popular video-streaming site, which is up 5-10 percent sequentially.

“eMarketers we spoke to are spending their search advertisement dollars between 80-85 percent on Google, about 10 percent on Microsoft Bing and Yahoo combined, and the remaining on other search engines,” analyst Chowdhry wrote.

The brokerage raised its FY 2011 earnings per share estimate to $36.37 from $35.75, and FY2012 EPS estimate to $47.83 from $45.33 to reflect strength in Google’s core search business, pickup in YouTube, and a strong start to Google Plus.

Shares of Mountain View, California-based Google, after rising to $551.33, were trading at $550 on Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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