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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ask Matt: Is Google stock unstoppable?

Originally Appeared in USA TODAY

USA TODAY markets reporter Matt Krantz answers a different reader question every weekday. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at

Q: Is Google and its stock unstoppable?

A: Apple stock is dead money. Yahoo is trying to get its mojo back. And Facebook is struggling with investors.

While the other titans of mobile communication and the Internet labor, investors can't get enough of Google. The company has effectively leveraged its dominance in online search to push into the faster-growing and emerging area of mobile access.

Google provides the Android operating system to smartphone makers for free, creating a vehicle that allows Google to bundle its search engine and get a leg up in mobile search.

Google's move into mobility isn't being lost on investors. Google's stock is rising almost as quickly as Apple's is falling. But even with Google's 31% rise this year to $924.69 a share, the stock is still rated "outperform" by the average Wall Street analyst. Analysts are calling for the company's earnings to grow by nearly 16% this year.

But it's often when companies seem unstoppable — as Google does now — that something unforeseen can hit. At a valuation of 28 times its trailing earnings, Google is not only more pricey than the market but pricier than some of its top rivals: Microsoft at 18 and Apple at 10.

Meanwhile, the company faces regulatory risk as governments step up investigations into the company's business practices.