Alphabet sees record profit as people stay at home

Alphabet's quarterly profit was $17.9bn, or $26.29 per share

Google’s parent company Alphabet reported record profit for the second quarter in a row and a $50bn (£36bn, €41bn) share buyback.

With online consumer activity remaining high in the first quarter, Alphabet beat analysts' revenue estimates and nearly outperformed the sales record it set in the fourth quarter.

Google ad sales jumped 32% in the first quarter compared with a year ago, above expectations of Refinitiv analysts. However, it warned that a rise in usage and ad sales during the pandemic may slow down as people resumed in-person activities.

Cloud sales rose 45.7%, in line with estimates, signalling that services may keep gains made since pandemic restrictions forced people to shop and communicate online over the last year.

In-person activities on the rise

About 17% of people in the US, Alphabet's top region by revenue, were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of the first quarter. Activities, including dining in restaurants, resumed in big cities in March, and security screenings at US airports had their busiest day in a year.

But Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat said: "It's too early to forecast the extent to which these changes in consumer behaviour and advertising spend will endure."

The share repurchase authorisation by Alphabet's board follows a $25bn buyback programme announced in 2019. Analysts estimate Alphabet now has $56bn left to spend buying its shares.

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Meanwhile, Alphabet's overall quarterly sales rose 34% to $55.3bn, above analysts' estimate of 26% growth from a year ago and close to the $56.9bn it reported in the fourth quarter. 

Health monitor 

Revenue benefited by an unspecified amount from Google's acquisition of smartwatch maker Fitbit in January.

Alphabet's quarterly profit was $17.9bn, or $26.29 per share, beating estimates of $15.88 per share and beating its previous-high of $15.2bn last quarter.

Alphabet shares rose about 4.3% to $2,390.10 in extended trading.

Its shares have surged 80% in the last year. Shares of top rival Facebook, which had been up 62% during the last year, rose 1.7% after hours.

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