Canaccord upgrades Alphabet, calls it the most defensive of the ‘FANG’ stocks

Canaccord Genuity upgraded Google-parent Alphabet to buy from hold, calling it the most defensive stock among the so-called “FANG” names.

The company’s revenue should grow between 15 percent to 20 percent for the next two to three years, which “coupled with abating gross margin pressure and continued share buybacks,” should lead to more than 15 percent annual growth rate between 2020 and 2022, according to Canaccord.

“Competitive risk from Amazon’s advertising business is likely manageable, and we view Google as the most defensive of the FANG stocks given the steady performance and reasonable valuation,” Canaccord’s analyst Maria Ripps said in a note on Thursday.

Canaccord also increased its 12-month price target for Google to $1,250 from $1,140, which would represent a 19 percent gain from Alphabet’s pre-market trading level of $1,054 on Thursday. Shares of Alphabet lost about 3 percent in 2018 while the S&P 500 fell 6 percent.

The “FANG” stocks had a stellar first half of 2018 but saw their shares tumble over the past three months. Facebook shares have fallen 13 percent. Amazon shares also have fallen more than 20 percent since the company reached a $1 trillion valuation earlier this year. Netflix shares are down 30 percent in three months on concerns about slowing subscriber growth.

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