US Google stock tops $1000 on strong earnings

Google stock topped $1,000 a share in early trading Friday on a strong earnings report. The shares hit their all-time high after the search-engine giant  expanded its mobile and overseas businesses while keeping ad-rate declines in check.

At midday, shares were at $1,008, up 13.5 percent. At least 16 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock to between $880 and $1,220, with Deutsche Bank bumping up its target price by 26 percent. The shares jumped 10.7 percent to a new high of $983.70 soon after the opening bell on the Nasdaq, before easing back.

Google said paid clicks increased by a quarter in the three months ended Sept. 30, from a year earlier, the highest rate of growth in the past year.

This offset an 8 percent fall in average cost-per-click, the price advertisers pay Google when consumers click on their ads.

“We view solid paid clicks growth to be a good indicator of demand, driven by the continued shift to mobile,” J.P. Morgan analysts said. They had expected 21.5 percent growth.

To counter declines in cost-per-click rates, Google rolled out in February a service to help advertisers market through a mix of smartphones, tablets and desktops.

The J.P. Morgan analysts said this drive was a major opportunity for Google in the upcoming holiday season.

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