May 5, 2020

Alphabet shares soar on Google Cloud, YouTube expansion

Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai

Google and Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai

Alphabet shares surged after first-quarter results and upbeat executive comments showed the company’s cloud and YouTube businesses kept growing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sales came in at US$33.71-billion, up 14% from a year ago and ahead of Wall Street estimates. YouTube revenue jumped 33.5%, while Google Cloud’s top line soared 52%.

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“Results came out better than the market expected, with strong metrics in Google Cloud and YouTube,” Jason Bazinet, an analyst at Citigroup, wrote in a note to investors.

The world’s largest Internet company has been trying to diversify away from search advertising for years by investing heavily in cloud services, digital video, consumer hardware and riskier long-term bets such as driverless cars. The first quarter showed progress in several of these areas, even as Google’s main ad business suffered from virus-fueled cuts in marketing spending in March.

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CEO Sundar Pichai said the cloud business was still strong, even if some deals were taking longer to complete. “We see overall momentum,” he told analysts during a conference call.

Chief financial officer Ruth Porat said YouTube brand advertising growth accelerated in the first two months of the quarter, but started to experience headwinds in the middle of March. Direct response ads on YouTube, which often entice viewers into buying something, “continued to have substantial year-on-year growth throughout the entire quarter”, she added.

Tech Central