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Did Alphabet Make Shady Deal With Apple?


Google parent Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) reports Q3 2020 earnings after Thursday’s U.S. closing bell, with analysts expecting a profit of $11.14 per-share on $42.81 billion in revenue. That would mark a modest 10% earnings-per-share (EPS) increase compared to the same quarter in 2019. The stock fell after a mixed Q2 report in July but bottomed out quickly, ahead of a strong advance that posted an all-time high at 1726.10 in September.

Department Of Justice Files Anti-Trust Suit

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an anti-trust suit against Alphabet last week, alleging “Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by (1) entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid pre-installation of any competing search service and (2) entering into tying and other arrangements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable”.

DoJ intends to target a questionable deal with an alleged co-conspirator to prosecute their anti-trust case. According to The New York Times, the company pays Apple Inc. (AAPL) an estimated $8 to $12 billion per year to make Google the exclusive search engine for all their devices and services, including the iPhone and Siri. More importantly, this is alleged to be Alphabet’s biggest single payout, accounting for as much as 21% of Apple’s annual profits.

Wall Street And Technical Outlook

Wall Street consensus is utterly euphoric, with a ‘Strong Buy’ rating based upon 31 ’Buy’ and 1 ‘Hold’ recommendation. No analysts are recommending that shareholders close positions and move to the sidelines. Price targets currently range from a low of $1,600 to a Street-high $2,202 while the stock opened Monday’s U.S. session just $15 above the low target. This suggests Alphabet is undervalued but the lawsuit could weigh on buying pressure in coming months.

The stock reversed in September at a rising highs trendline going back to 2015 and sold off to the 200-day moving average. It bounced off that support level into October and has now recovered about 75% of the downdraft. Accumulation readings are perking up after garden variety profit-taking and a strong quarterly report could close the distance into the prior high. Even so, it will be tough to overcome trendline resistance between now and year’s end.

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