Shares of Google-parent Alphabet Inc.
jumped 2.1% toward a record high in afternoon trading Monday, after Pivotal Research analyst Michael Levine turned bullish for the first time in nearly three years, saying the recent change in management offers “the most optionality for margin expansion for the stock” he has seen in years. Levine raised his rating to buy, after being at hold since April 2017, and raised his stock price target to $1,650 from $1,445. In December, the company named Google chief executive Sundar Pichai as CEO of the parent company, as co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin exited active management of Alphabet. Among reasons to be bullish, Levine said he’s “incrementally more constructive about what we perceive as multiple ways to get paid” under the recently anointed Pichai regime. He believes there is a potential to change capital allocation strategies from instituting a larger stock buyback program and potentially instituting a dividend. The stock has rallied 14.8% over the past three months, while the S&P 500
has gained 9.6%.
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