Alphabet (GOOGL) — the parent of Google, YouTube and Google Cloud, among other businesses — reported blowout financial results, and investors with a long-term view should use any near term weakness to add shares, observes Jon Markman, growth stock expert and editor of Strategic Investing.
There are two distinctly different factors to keep in mind. Alphabet is a digital business and growth is brisk. Second, to keep growing, the company needs to continue to invest. The opportunity is now.
I understand. I have been saying this for the past four years. Buy Alphabet. Don’t worry about hiccups. Ignore most of the analysts. Focus on the bigger idea that everything is going digital. Plan for a world where understanding data is paramount because the companies that do this best are going to win.
Alphabet’s digital advertising business is formidable. During the fourth quarter sales were up 17.3% to $46.1 billion, year over year. However, as impressive as these results are, investors should still focus on the businesses under construction.
Those enterprises, now siloed in “other bets”, use AI and data analytics to problem solve everything from self-driving cars and trucks to drug discovery to smarter city infrastructure.
Waymo, for example, the self-driving car subsidiary, currently has fully functioning driverless vehicles in operation in Arizona. Currently the business operates as a digital taxicab service. The larger plan is to sell the technology as a service to other firms.
Waymo partnered in January with UPS (UPS), the global package delivery company. The firms will work together to shuttle packages between UPS stores in metro Phoenix and the UPS hub in Tempe.
Verily Life Sciences is an Alphabet business devoted to removing inefficiencies in health care. The company is working with care solutions businesses like Walgreens (WAL), drug researchers such as Duke University Medical, Pfizer (PFE), Stanford University and Novartis, and pharma innovators like Biogen (BGEN), Gilead (GILD) and Allergan (AGN).
The business has raised $1.8 billion in external investment. Its portfolio already includes 1,521 patents and 46 solutions under development, according to a January presentation.
Alphabet’s other bets are legitimate businesses with veteran leadership, external investors and plans to become profitable, standalone enterprises. Best of all, the current Alphabet share price gives them no value. The stock is a steal at current prices.