Jefferies Upgrades Google

Analyst Youssef Squali says the search engine's fourth quarter results exceeded his and consensus estimates for revenue and earnings

Jefferies upgrades Google (GOOG ) to buy from hold.

Analyst Youssef Squali says fourth-quarter results are outstanding, exceeded his high-end estimates, consensus numbers for revenue, and normalized earnings per share.

He says though the company provided no guidance, he believes fourth-quarter results provide incremental insight to the company's growth trajectory, which he believes is steeper than previously anticipated.

He raises his $3.50 2005 earnings per share estimate to $3.99 and his $4.66 2006 earnings per share estimate to $5.40. He raises his 12-month target to $230. Squali says his upgrade of Google rounds out his bullish stance on search marketing industry, including Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, and FindWhat.

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