Alphabet earnings push stock up 7%; CFO Ruth Porat to become president, chief investment officer

Google parent Alphabet Inc.’s stock jumped more than 7% in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company beat estimates on the top and bottom line, and announced the transition of Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat to president and chief investment officer in September.

Fueled by strong advertising sales, Alphabet
racked up fiscal second-quarter net income of $18.4 billion, or $1.44 a share, compared with net income of $16 billion, or $1.21 a share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Total revenue was $74.6 billion, compared with $69.7 billion a year ago. Sales minus traffic-acquisition costs were $62.06 billion, vs. $57.5 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected on average net earnings of $1.34 a share on revenue of $72.85 billion and ex-TAC revenue of $60.25 billion.

“There’s exciting momentum across our products and the company, which drove strong results this quarter,” Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said in a statement. “Our continued leadership in AI and our excellence in engineering
and innovation are driving the next evolution of Search, and improving all our services.”

During a conference call Tuesday afternoon, he highlighted the intertwining of advertising and Alphabet’s strides in generative AI. He added the company continues to consolidate and align operations to streamline spending.

Shares of Alphabet have advanced 39% so far this year largely on the strength of generative AI and its potential. The broader S&P 500 index 
is up 19%. Alphabet’s stock inched up 0.6% to $122.21 in the regular session Tuesday.

Google’s total advertising sales improved to $58.14 billion from $56.3 billion a year ago, and edged analysts’ average expectations of $57.45 billion. Google Cloud hauled in $8 billion, compared with $6.3 billion last year. YouTube ad sales rebounded to $7.7 billion from $7.34 billion a year ago.

Porat, who has played an essential role in Google’s advertising success since she became CFO in 2015, will start her new role on Sept. 1. She will be responsible for Alphabet’s investments in its Other Bets portfolio, and the company’s investments in countries and communities around the world. Porat will continue to report to Pichai.

“We see technology can make so much of a difference in people’s lives… and in economic growth globally,” Porat said during the conference call late Tuesday.

The monetization of AI continues to be an obsession of investors and Wall Street. Microsoft Corp.’s
AI version, Bing, hit the market first, but Google’s competing entry, Bard, is making headway, according to analysts. Alphabet is ramping up AI initiatives to improve operational efficiency and productivity.

When asked on the call about AI monetization, Pichai said the technology expands the company’s total addressable market, brings in potential new customers, deepens the versatility of its product portfolio, and differentiates core products such as cybersecurity.

AI’s importance was underscored by a Wall Street Journal report on Tuesday that Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been spotted at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters in recent weeks working with AI researchers on a large-scale project. Brin has been largely out of sight after stepping down from an executive role at parent company Alphabet in 2019.

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