Google Stock Downgraded

    February 17, 2009

So much for the "buy and hold" approach to investing, at least where Google and one analyst is concerned.  It might be time to sell and get some cash, instead, as ThinkEquity’s William Morrison has downgraded the search giant’s stock from "accumulate" to "source of funds." 

Google Logo

Hardly good news for Eric, Larry, and Sergey, huh?  Also, Morrison embraced a more pessimistic price target ($300 versus $350) and cut earnings per share targets for both this year and next.  Which may seem like an odd reaction given the rather great fourth-quarter earnings Google reported last month.

But as quoted by Eric Savitz, Morrison explained, "[I]f the current down cycle is anything like the last for online advertising, we’ve got 7 to 8 quarters of market declines ahead of us with growth resuming in the third or fourth quarter of 2010."

Then, Morrison referenced comparisons between our current situation and the Great Depression and continued, "If that’s the case, we believe there is a compelling argument to be made that the declines in online advertising could actually be worse during the current recession than what we experienced post-bubble."

Let’s hope things don’t swing in that direction.  Although we must note that Morrison’s statement seems timely, since the Dow and Nasdaq have slid 2.93 and 3.30 percent today, respectively, and Google’s down a full 3.70 percent.