Google shares break $800 for the 1st time

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Google's stock price topped $800 for the first time Tuesday amid renewed confidence in the company's ability to reap steadily higher profits from its dominance of Internet search and prominence in the increasingly important mobile device market.

The milestone comes more than five years after Google's shares initially hit $700. Not long after breaking that barrier in October 2007, the economy collapsed into the worst recession since World War II and Google's stock tumbled into a prolonged malaise that eventually led to a change in leadership.

The company's resurgent stock price, besides enriching Google's employees and other shareholders, is an implicit endorsement of co-founder Larry Page.

He replaced his managerial mentor, Eric Schmidt, as chief executive in April 2011. Under Page, Google has streamlined its decision-making and operations while closing dozens of services.

Google's stock has risen by about 35 percent since Page took over. By contrast, the benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index has climbed by 15 percent over the same stretch. Google's stock closed Tuesday at $806.85, up $13.96, or 1.76 percent.

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There is little dispute among analysts that Google appears well positioned for many years of prosperity. The reasons: Its Internet search engine remains the hub of the Web's biggest marketing network; its YouTube video site has established itself as an increasingly attractive advertising vehicle; and its free Android software is running on more than 600 million smartphones and tablet computers to create even more opportunities to sell ads.

The lower prices attached to mobile ads have raised recurring concerns on Wall Street about the decline in the average rate paid for ads that run alongside Google's search results. The company, though, is trying to reverse the trend with upcoming changes to its ad system that will prod more marketers to buy mobile ads when they are creating campaigns for desktop and laptop computers.

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