Google and Priceline Race to $1,000

Google and Priceline Race to $1,000

Google and are closing in on a meaty milestone. Both dot-com darlings are within reach of $1,000.

There is nothing statistically significant about that number when it comes to the valuation of either company. It's just a big round number. However, there are naturally some psychological attributes associated with hitting $1K. Ask yourself why you clicked on this story.

It's been a good race in recent months. Google closed yesterday at $896.57. The "name your own price" travel portal clocked in at $935.38.

It wasn't always that way, and when I tapped Priceline as one of four stocks that could get to $1,000 before Big G, it was well behind. In fact, Google had the higher close at the end of July.

There are plenty of catalysts that could send either stock into quadruple digits, but Priceline is the one with the clearer path in the near term. It reports quarterly results tomorrow, and it's probably going to be a strong report.

Analysts see revenue climbing 25% to $1.66 billion, and profitability is expected to check in 19% higher at $9.37 a share.

Skeptics will argue that Expedia's miss two weeks ago is a strong indicator that the online travel space is doomed ahead of tomorrow's Priceline report, but that's not the apples-to-apples comparison that one would expect. Expedia has now come up short on the bottom line in two of the past three quarters. Priceline has beaten analyst profit targets every single quarter since the first quarter of 2006.

We also can't frame Priceline in the same light as its domestic rivals. Expedia is a major player overseas, but not to Priceline's extent, where 85% of its gross bookings in its previous quarters were international.

Banking on international bookings may seem risky. Europe is still well behind the global economic recovery, and that's a strong market for Priceline's The news is mixed if we keep heading east. MakeMyTrip reported uninspiring quarterly results this morning, as India's leading travel portal posted an operating loss on a modest 11% uptick in revenue after service costs. However, until Priceline proves mortal relative to conservative Wall Street expectations, it's hard to bet against the dot-com speedster.

Google is naturally no slacker itself. The world's top dog in both search and online advertising may have missed profit forecasts in last month's quarterly report, but the Internet behemoth has established itself as a mobile force with its market leadership in smartphone and most recently tablet operating system market share. Android isn't a needle-moving money maker for Google now, but it's a foot in the door to make sure that it remains relevant in the migration from PC usage to portable gadgetry.

I'm naturally going to stick to my call six months ago. I see Priceline hitting $1,000 first, and that doesn't seem as ludicrous as it did back then when Google was busting through $800 as Priceline was still trading below $700.

However, Big G's direction is also undeniably positive. Priceline will break through $1,000 first -- but Google shouldn't take too much longer after that to follow suit.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google and The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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