Alphabet could surge 20% — and it’s all thanks to Waymo, Morgan Stanley says

WaymoOne of Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans navigates autonomously around its testing facility at the decommissioned Castle Air Force base in Merced County, California, on Monday, October 30, 2017.

Morgan Stanley can’t get enough of Waymo.

After saying that Google’s secretive self-driving car project could be worth $US175 billion – already a $US100 billion uptick from its previous valuation – the bank now believes that once the automotive unit starts its ride-hailing service this year, Alphabet’s stock could surge 20% to $US1,515 per share.

“Given the continued strong core fundamentals and growing Waymo visibility, we adjust our GOOGL price target calculation and raise our price target to $US1,515 (from $US1,325), which represents ~20% upside,” analyst Brian Nowak said in a note to clients Wednesday.

“Our model and new valuation methodology more fully incorporate Waymo, as we see the launch of Waymo’s ride-hailing service by year-end as a potential catalyst for value realisation.”

The bank also says its price target increase is because there’s more profit left to be juiced from Google’s billions of users across the globe using it’s core services like search, YouTube, Maps and more.

“We remain bullish on the core GOOGL business as we believe GOOGL is still in the early innings of monetizing its seven +1 billion user platforms and that it is investing to build new monetisation opportunities such as YouTube subscriptions, Maps, and hardware.”

Of course, there’s still plenty standing between Waymo and fare collection. Human drivers are regularly taking over for the computer, The Information reported this week, and the beta program has received numerous complaints from those in its suburban Phoenix test zone.

Morgan Stanley’s price target is 9.6% above the Wall Street average of $US1,382, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Shares have risen 18% since the beginning of the year.

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