Google's market tops Wal-Mart's

On a day when stocks basically went nowhere, shares of Internet search giant Google (GOOG, news, msgs) topped $600 a share for the first time today. \r\n\r\nThat pushed its market value above $190 billion and ahead of Wal-Mart Stores (WMT, news, msgs), whose business is about 20 times more massive. \r\n\r\nGoogle gained 2.6% to $609.62 today and is up 6.5% this month and 31% this year. \r\n\r\nWal-Mart, meanwhile, was down slightly this day to about $45, a victim of worries about consumer spending. The stock has been stagnant in the past few years, falling 11% in 2005 and 1.3% in 2006. This year, the stock is down 2.3%.\r\n\r\nIf that\’s not enough, Google now has a market value greater than Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor (TM, news, msgs). Toyota shares fell slightly in New York to $117.29; its market cap sat the close of trading this day was about $187 billion. \r\n\r\nMarket capitalization is the value of outstanding common shares. \r\n\r\nGoogle and tech stocks generally were higher today. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped to a 7-point gain to 2,787. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, was down 22 points to about 14,044, and the Standard & Poor\’s 500 Index was down 5 points to just under 1,553.\r\n\r\nIf Google were in the Dow, the company would rank eighth in terms of market capitalization among the 30 stocks in the blue-chip index. \r\n\r\nAfter just three years as a public company, Google shares have jumped more than 600%, and the company is now worth more than 22 of the 30 companies listed in the Dow. \r\n\r\nIts market cap is almost as huge as the five Dow stocks with the smallest market caps combined: Caterpillar (CAT, news, msgs), DuPont (DD, news, msgs), Honeywell (HON, news, msgs), Alcoa (AA, news, msgs) and General Motors (GM, news, msgs). \r\n\r\nAt the same time, it would be the 23rd most valuable company in the world. While plenty of analysts say Google stock is headed to $700, it is still pricey: It trades at 45 times its projected 2007 earnings of $13.18 a share and 21% above its 200-day moving average, even though it has traded as high as 62% above its 200-day average. \r\n\r\nSeventeen of 23 analysts rate the stock a strong purchase. Its 2006 earnings per share were almost double earnings in 2005. But it looks now like the 2007 earnings will be only 30% higher than 2006 earnings.\r\n\r\nVideo: Google\’s spectacular rise\r\n\r\nTech stocks were about the only strength in the market this day. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, news, msgs) led the Dow with a 2% gain to $51.98, and IBM Corp. (IBM, news, msgs) and Intel (INTC, news, msgs) were among the top five Dow stocks today. \r\n\r\nApple (AAPL, news, msgs) jumped 4% to $167.91. (AMZN, news, msgs) rose 2.6% to $95.85, and World wide web software company Akamai Technologies (AKAM, news, msgs) soared 8.4% to $33.92, tops among stocks in the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX.X), which includes nearly all the biggest Nasdaq stocks. The latter index was up 0.6% to 2,163.\r\n\r\nMeanwhile, the Amex Interactive Week World wide web Index ($IIX.X), which includes Google, was up 0.8%. \r\n\r\nWhat pulled the market lower? Economic worries, set off by an earnings warning from Ryder System (R, news, msgs), which stated the economic slowdown has moved beyond the housing sectors. \r\n\r\nAt the same time, there was weakness in oil stocks, materials stocks and financials. \r\n\r\nExxonMobil (XOM, news, msgs) was down 0.7% to $90.68 as crude oil fell more than 2.7% to $79.02 a barrel in New York. \r\n\r\nStock Charts (Year)\r\nGoogle\r\n\r\nWal-Mart Stores\r\n\r\nRyder System \r\nCitigroup (C, news, msgs) was off 1% to $47.80. Alcoa, which reports third-quarter earnings tomorrow, was the Dow loser, down 1.3% to $38.30. \r\n\r\nAnd Wal-Mart? It was down 0.2% to $45.27 as investors used the Ryder warnings to worry about consumer confidence and spending. \r\n\r\nRyder\’s nasty warning\r\nRyder shares fell after the trucking company warned that weak demand for commercial rentals would negatively affect its third-quarter earnings. \r\n\r\nThe company, which leases trucks and trailers, anticipates to earn between $1.12 and $1.14 per share in the third quarter, below a previous forecast of between $1.20 and $1.23 per share. \r\n\r\nVideo: Zipcar goes to college\r\n\r\n\”Economic conditions have softened considerably in more industries beyond those related to housing and construction,\” the company said in a press release.\r\n\r\n\”Consequently, freight and shipment levels have weakened to a greater extent than previously anticipated. The impact to earnings is primarily driven by softer-than-anticipated demand in the commercial rental product line, as well as from lower pricing and higher carrying costs associated with used cars.\” \r\n\r\nShares fell almost 6.8% to $45.92 this day and was the biggest loser among S&P 500 stocks and among the 20 stocks in the Dow Jones Transportation Index ($TRAN). The index was down 1.2% today to 4,935. \r\n\r\nSprint\’s Forsee resigns\r\nAfter the market close, cell phone company Sprint Nextel (S, news, msgs) said Gary Forsee had stepped down as CEO and chairman amid pressure from investors unhappy with the company\’s stock performance. \r\n\r\nThe stock, which had dropped 2.7% to $18.50 in regular trading, jumped 0.5% to $18.59 in after-hours trading.\r\n\r\nSprint also confirmed the fears of some investors who worried that the company\’s already poor financial performance in current months is deteriorating. \r\n\r\nSprint said today that it expects to report a third quarter net loss of approximately 337,000 subscribers in the key \”post-paid\” market segment — customers who sign annual contracts and pay monthly bills.\r\n\r\nForsee\’s departure comes just two years after he engineered the $35 billion purchase of cellular operator Nextel Communications to keep pace with rapid consolidation in telecommunications. \r\n\r\nThe Wall Street Journal reported last week that the company was actively seeking a replacement for Forsee.\r\n\r\nEnergy prices — New York close Mon. Fri. Chg. Month chg. YTD chg. \r\nCrude oil (NYMEX) (per barrel) $79.02 $81.22 -$2.20 -3.23%\r\n 29.43% \r\nHeating oil (per gallon) $2.1596 $2.2235 -$0.0639 -3.50% 35.15% \r\nNatural gas (per million BTU) $6.8460 $7.0730 -$0.2270 -0.35% 8.68% \r\nUnleaded gasoline (per gallon) $2.0002 $2.0493 -$0.0491 -3.29% 24.85%

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