Google parent Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) will report its Q4 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday. The search giant will likely face fewer headwinds in the online advertising space than social media platforms like Facebook (FB) and Snapchat (SNAP), which have been slammed by changes to Apple’s (AAPL) iOS privacy settings.
Here’s what Wall Street is expecting of the company in the quarter, as compiled by Bloomberg, compared to its performance in the same quarter last year.
Revenue ex-TAC [minus traffic acquisition costs]: $59.3 billion expected versus $46.4 billion in Q4 last year.
Earnings per share: $30.01 expected versus $22.30 in Q4 last year.
Investors and analysts will pay close attention to the performance of Alphabet’s advertising business, which is its chief revenue driver, as well as its up-and-coming cloud business.
While privacy changes Apple made to its iOS platform have dinged advertisers including Snap and Facebook parent Meta, Google is less affected by the new policy thanks to the sheer amount of data it collects via its own search and YouTube offerings.
Apple’s privacy changes primarily impact apps that collect user data as they traverse the web. But since Alphabet can pull data directly from user search results, it isn’t as exposed to Apple’s moves.
“Our industry checks suggest Search outpaced Social in the quarter, [with] Search perhaps benefiting from some shift of ad dollars related to iOS changes, even against the backdrop of mixed ecomm/retail spending,” J.P. Morgan’s Doug Anmuth wrote in an analyst note ahead of Alphabet’s earnings.
Google Cloud growth will also be in the spotlight, as Alphabet continues to plow money into the platform in an effort to steal market share away from Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services.
Anmuth predicts that Google Cloud will report losses of $705 million, about $60 million less than the company’s third quarter earnings report.
“Cloud remains a long-term growth opportunity & heavy investment area for [Google],” he said.
While tech sector stocks have been especially volatile lately, shares of Alphabet have easily out-performed competitors’ stocks.
As of mid-day Monday, shares of Alphabet were up more than 46% in the last 12 months. That easily outstrips the broader S&P 500, which was up 19%. Shares of Microsoft, one of Alphabet’s biggest cloud rivals, were up 32%, while shares of Amazon were down 7.5%. Shares of Facebook — Alphabet’s largest competitor in the online advertising business — were up 20%.
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