BENGALURU : Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, moved closer to joining Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp in the US$2 trillion (about RM8.36 trillion) market valuation club on Wednesday (Feb 2), as the search giant’s shares soared more than 8% following a strong quarterly report.

Alphabet’s stock, which was last trading at US$2,960, was on track for its biggest one-day percentage rise in almost two years, assuaging fears about owning Big Tech after a recent sector-wide sell-off.

Alphabet’s stock market value peaked just above US$2 trillion shortly after the market opened, and was last valued at US$1.97 trillion. This includes insiders’ Class B shares, which do not trade on the stock exchange.

The company’s first near to $2 trillion valuation would be a first for the Mountain View, California-based firm.

“The technology sector began 2022 with some of the most significant uncertainties since the dot-com disaster more than two decades ago,” said Russ Mould, an investment director at AJ Bell. “However, with substantial earnings beats, the largest and highest-quality US IT businesses continue to give the answers the market craves.”

Even as regulators around the world scrutinise them over allegations of privacy breaches and antitrust concerns, shares in Wall Street’s most valuable companies have soared in the last two years, driven by Covid-19 pandemic-driven shifts in how people work and learn.

At least 20 brokerages boosted their price targets for Alphabet stock after the firm reported record quarterly sales that exceeded forecasts late Tuesday. The median analyst price target is now US$3,450, up 16% from where it is today.

Alphabet also announced a 20-to-1 stock split, giving stockholders 19 shares for every one they now own.

Companies split stocks in order to entice investors by making them more inexpensive. Some brokerages, such as Robinhood Markets, allow investors to acquire fractional shares, making the strategy less successful.

In 2000, Tesla Inc. and Apple Inc. split their stock to make their shares more enticing to small investors.

“The split will make the shares more accessible to ordinary investors and would likely facilitate inclusion in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (which is still share price-weighted), but it will have no fundamental impact,” said JPMorgan analyst Doug Anmuth.

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, was last up 1.1 percent after reporting earnings after the bell on Wednesday.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc shares soared over 5% as its results beat Wall Street estimates, adding to the tech stock rally. Nvidia Corp, Qualcomm Inc, and Micron Technology Inc all increased their stock prices.

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