Google-parent Alphabet might be focusing on the micro-moment for advertisers, but it has a macro market cap.
The company, which like other tech giants is benefiting from the mobile rush, saw the collective value of its stock soar in aftermarket trading today, pushing the search giant past Apple Inc. and making it the most valuable traded U.S. stock.
Shares of the firm rose 5.2 percent to $791.44 after it posting fourth-quarter earnings. That gave Alphabet a market cap of $544 billion, nudging it past Apple, which has a market cap of about $534 billion according to aftermarket trading.
Alphabet’s fourth quarter net income rose 5.3 percent to $4.9 billion. Adjusted profits, which reflect continuing operations, increased 30 percent to $6 billion, or $8.67 a share. Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 17.8 percent to $21.3 billion from $18.1 billion a year earlier.
This was the first time that the newly created Alphabet broke out the numbers with Google and what it calls “Other Bets,” which include Fiber, Calico, Nest, self-driving cars and more.
For the full year, Google’s revenues rose 13.5 percent to $74.5 billion while Alphabet’s Other Bets saw revenue increase 37 percent to $448.
Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said that the fourth quarter was strong because of the holiday season and because of the increase in and the efficacy of mobile search. In addition, she said, there was ongoing momentum in YouTube and programmatic advertising.
Google chief executive officer Sundar Pichai echoed her comments on the improvement on search in mobile. “Google helps advertisers reach the right customer in precisely the right micro-moment, when they are looking to buy something, go somewhere, know something, or do something,” Pichai said. “Mobile is really helping us make these connections for marketers.
He mentioned that “shopping moments,” according to Google research shared during the holiday shopping season, had replaced shopping marathons, and that 30 percent of all online shopping purchases happen on mobile phones. In the U.S., Pichai said, revenue from mobile phones exceeded desktop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and through the weekend.
In addition, much of the talk on the conference call touched on the company’s YouTube unit, and the finding that YouTube on mobile reaches more 18- to 49-year olds than any cable network in the U.S. “Brands turned to YouTube,” he said, “to inspire and engage potential customers, and with our recently launched shoppable ads, marketers like Michael Kors can connect the dots between inspiration and purchase.”
Pichai also highlighted partnerships like those with Android Web with New Balance and a smartwatch partnership with Cassio. “This is a group of companies with whom we worked really hard to build strong relationships,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the line-up of flagship devices our partners are working on this year.”
Looking forward, as in the recent earnings calls with Facebook and Apple, there was discussion of virtual reality and that although it would be something to look forward to more in coming years, it was still in “early days” and was a long-term investment.
Porat referenced Alphabet chief executive Larry [Page], who said, when laying out the creation of Alphabet, “Incrementalism and technology leads to irrelevance over time, because change tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary.”