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What's in the Offing for Alphabet (GOOGL) in Q4 Earnings?

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Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) is scheduled to report fourth-quarter 2018 results on Feb 4.

Notably, the stock beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters, delivering average positive surprise of almost 13%.

In the last reported quarter, Alphabet delivered a positive earnings surprise of 23.9%. Moreover, earnings of $13.06 per share surged 36.5% year over year and 11.1% on a sequential basis.

Net revenues were $27.16 billion, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $27.32 billion. However, gross total revenues of $33.7 billion increased 3.3% sequentially and 21.5% year over year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fourth-quarter earnings has inched up 0.5% to $11.12 per share over the past 30 days. The consensus mark for net revenues is $31.28 billion, which is estimated to increase roughly 21% year over year.

Coming to price performance, Alphabet’s shares have lost 9.1% in the past year compared with its industry’s decline of 27%.

 

 

Let’s see how things are shaping up for this announcement.
 
Search & Cloud Momentum to Aid Growth

Alphabet’s dominant position in the search space remains a key catalyst for the company’s top-line growth.

Moreover, Alphabet’s continued focus on innovation of its search segment, which accounts for a major portion of the total revenues, will continue to enhance the segment’s results and drive traffic on its platform.
 

 

Alphabet Inc. Price and EPS Surprise

 

Further, Alphabet’s Google is strongly focused on innovation of its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques, in order to further bolster its presence in the rapidly growing cloud market.

Google has been significantly gaining momentum in the highly-competitive cloud market over the last few quarters. In this regard, the company is aggressively undergoing expansion in the cloud market of Latin America (“LATAM”), driven by its expanding data centers, as well as improving AI and ML skills.

Further, it has rolled out new certification and training programs for cloud developers and engineers in a bid to select skilled workers in cloud technologies.

We believe that the company’s strong endeavors toward expansion of its cloud service portfolio and data centers will continue to benefit the adoption rate of Google Cloud. This will likely be a major driving force behind the company’s fourth-quarter results.

Other Factors to Consider

Alphabet continues to strengthen healthcare presence on the back of its well-performing healthcare unit, Verily. It recently received FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram technology (ECG) in its Study Watch. This will aid Alphabet in supporting both population-based research and individual healthcare endeavors.

Moreover, its growing strategic partnerships are acting as tailwinds. The company recently partnered with Walgreens Boots Alliance. Additionally, Verily is planning to form a JV with ResMed for inventing proper treatment and methods to fight sleep apnea.

Google’s expanding footprint in the vehicle infotainment space will continue to boost the adoption rate of Android OS as well as top-line growth. Recently, the company’s self-driving unit Waymo unveiled its first paid self-driving taxi Waymo One in Arizona.

Coming to the streaming services space, the company is leaving no stone unturned to fortify its presence in this arena by investing in original contents.

Notably, the company’s expanding portfolio of services is anticipated to drive top-line growth in the soon-to-be-reported quarter.

Concerns

Alphabet’s search advertising business is facing stiff competition from Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) . In the cloud computing space, Google Cloud trails both Amazon and Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) . The increasing competition in both the markets is likely to hurt top-line growth in the to-be-reported quarter.

Also, Alphabet continues to face data privacy challenges, which remain a major concern for the company. In addition, increased spending on its consumer gadgets, YouTube video app and cloud computing services remains a concern.

What Our Model Says

According to the Zacks model, a company with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) has a good chance of beating estimates if it also has a positive Earnings ESP. The Sell-rated stocks (Zacks Rank #4 or 5) are best avoided.

Currently, Alphabet has a Zacks Rank #3 and an Earnings ESP of 0.00%, making surprise prediction difficult. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Stocks That Warrant a Look

You may consider the following stocks with a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank.

Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +13.03% and a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Square (SQ - Free Report) has an Earnings ESP of +6.60% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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From more than 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank, these 10 were picked by a process that consistently beats the market. Even during 2018 while the market dropped -5.2%, our Top 10s were up well into double-digits. And during bullish 2012 – 2017, they soared far above the market's +126.3%, reaching +181.9%.

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