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Google Punches Past $800

Google Punches Past $800

Shares of Google (GOOG) poked above $800 today, a meaningless level that nonetheless holds psychological import for investors, analysts, and anyone else who keeps financial score of companies in Silicon Valley.

While Apple’s (AAPL) woes have been distracting the Wall Street press, with shares losing more than a third of their value since September, Google has steadily risen. The stock has jumped 13.7 percent since the start of the year, almost double the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index’s 7.3 percent gain.

Google’s climb has it trading within 3 percent of analysts’ average price target—where they think the stock will be in one year. That means the group doesn’t think it has much more to climb. Of the analysts tracked by Bloomberg, 28 rate the stock a buy, 15 deem it a hold, and one advocates selling. Four have downgraded Google in February. The analysts, of course, could be all wrong: The last time Google narrowed the gap between its actual price and target price, analysts hiked their targets nearly $70, only to see the stock fall.

Why the runup? Who knows. This week, the tech press is reporting that Google will open its own retail stores, à la Apple, to sell smartphones running its Android software, Chromebook laptops, and maybe, one day, its wearable Google Glass spectacles.

Nick Summers covers Wall Street and finance for Bloomberg Businessweek. Twitter: @nicksummers.

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