Surprise winner of Facebook mania: Google

The search giant, up 7% since February, is benefiting from a halo effect, one expert says.

By MSN Money Partner May 18, 2012 2:49PM

By Jonnelle Marte


SmartMoneyWhile Facebook (FB) nabbed the lion’s share of media attention heading into its record-setting IPO on Friday, an older Internet giant’s stock was quietly rising.


Google (GOOG) shares have jumped more than 7% since Facebook filed for its initial public offering on Feb. 2, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is down about 1%. How to explain this market-beating performance? Some analysts say Google is likely benefiting from the hype surrounding Facebook -- and the inability for most regular investors to get in on the IPO at a decent price. It’s also seen as an attractive option for tech investors who can’t stomach the risks of investing in newly public companies, says Devin Pope, a wealth adviser for Albion Financial Group in Salt Lake City. "Google is a way to get exposure to social media without the risks and some of the potential unknowns from a company like Facebook," he says.


Indeed, despite all the pent-up demand for shares of Facebook, advisers say there are plenty of reasons to not buy in. First, most IPOs lose money, studies show, with even the hottest stock offerings popping soon after their first day of trading. Young companies also haven’t shown they can earn stable revenue, making it difficult for investors to measure their true worth, says Pope. They may also make blunders when reporting their financial results, he says, as happened with Groupon  shortly after it went public.


Google, on the other hand, has been reporting earnings for years and has demonstrated profitability, analysts say. It also maintains a strong hold on the online advertising business, unaffected by Facebook’s gains in that area, says Rick Summer, a senior equity analyst for Morningstar. Google successfully expanded its search capacity -- and those ads -- through its other services like Google maps, Gmail and Google places -- a good sign for investors who want to see growth, says Summer.


And yet Summer says Google remains decently priced -- even with the recent run-up -- making it even more attractive to value-conscious investors. Morningstar puts the fair valuation of Google at $780 a share, 20% more than the stock’s current price. Facebook, on the other hand, it has a fair value of $32 a share, making the $38 IPO price expensive. "If you’re going to make an investment in the sector we think it’s a no brainer that you should be allocating money toward Google," says Summer.


Investors are "friending" other tech stocks, too. LinkedIn (LNKD), the professional networking site, is up 45% since February, while Apple has gained 16%. “There’s a halo effect and I think it goes beyond Google,” says Milo Benningfield, a financial adviser based in San Francisco. "Facebook is the rising tide that is raising all the boats."


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May 19, 2012 2:19AM
So the average investor can not buy FB at 40$ so they by Google at 600$.
Wow,I wish I was smart enough to understand that logic!
May 19, 2012 10:42AM
The idiots who bought FB stock most likely never been on FB. FB will fail soon enough. Corps and people will realize you can't make money on FB. You can advertise. Once FB start with the over bearing ads the lemmings will leave FB .
May 19, 2012 2:23AM
I tried to post a longer reply including name of this web page that reports this as Gospel and name of moronic Logic co in Salt Lake City but, it would not post!!!!!!!!!
May 22, 2012 9:50AM
Ya, Facebook is really a tide. To bad the tides going out.
May 18, 2012 11:11PM
May 19, 2012 1:48AM

Now do something with this wealth besides join the soon to be hanging in trees 1%!


May 19, 2012 6:56AM
I am sooooo happy for the people at face book ,, I also hope google is the next one to exploded .
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