Shares of Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Free Report) touched a 52-week high of $1119.16, eventually closing a bit lower at $1114.21 on Jan 8. The stock has gained 34.7% in the past 12 months, substantially outperforming the 26.1% rally of the industry it belongs to.
The outperformance can be attributed to Alphabet-owned Google’s impressive product presentation at Consumer Electronics Show (CES), growing number of partnerships and increased focus on the online payments segment business.
Google stole the show with product announcements and updates for Assistant, its artificial intelligence software that is present on a range of devices including Home smart speakers.
Partnerships With Device Makers
Google announced its partnerships with several device makers to manufacture Assistant-powered "smart displays". Apparently, the company has partnered with JBL part of Samsung Electronics' Harman Kardon subsidiary, Lenovo, LG, and Sony. Moreover, Google said its partners will be launching its Assistant powered headphones this year and that it will push Assistant to more than 400 car models, which already run on Android Auto operating system.
Qualcomm also launched a platform for smart speakers, displays and other devices at the CES. The platform has built-in support for Google's Assistant and other Virtual Assistants. This platform will help hardware manufacturers to create virtual assistant supporting devices more easily. This will work in favor of Alphabet as the company is letting the other device makers do all the production related work.
Alphabet’s Google said a lot of devices, with its virtual assistant preinstalled, will be launched this year. Around 45 million people in the United States are expected to purchase smart speakers in 2018, per EMarketer and Google’s partnerships are expected to help it gain market share. Notably, Amazon lead the market with 76 % share compared with Google’s 24%, per CIRP estimates.
Google is also rolling out its updated search console for webmasters. The update improves search performance and index coverage data of the service. Also, to help users better utilize Google Assistant, it has created a new directory page called Actions.
Moreover, Google united its two products, Android Pay and Google Wallet and presented a rebranded payments tool, Google Pay. Initial partners that will accept payments from Google Pay include Airbnb, Dice, Fandango, HungryHouse and Instacart.
"With Google Pay, it’ll be easier for you to use the payment information saved to your Google Account, so you can speed through checkout with peace of mind," Vice president of Product Management for Payments, Pali Bhat wrote in a blog post. Bhat also said, "Over the coming weeks, you’ll see Google Pay online, in store, and across Google products, as well as when you’re paying friends."
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Alphabet has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Broadcom Limited (AVGO - Free Report) , Micron Technology (MU - Free Report) and NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA - Free Report) are some of the top-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth for Broadcom, Micron and NVIDIA is currently projected to be 13.75%, 10% and 10.3%, respectively.
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