(Recasts, adds details)
Jan 6 Merriman Curhan Ford upgraded Google Inc
(GOOG.O) to "neutral" from "sell" and said the Internet search
giant should see some improvement in margins as it was cutting
costs and going slow on its capital expenditure spending and
The brokerage also said the company increased its
advertising coverage in the fourth quarter, leading to a big
jump in click-through-rates (CTR) from the third quarter.
"We believe that should cushion some of the negative trends
in volume and cost-per-clicks (CPCs)," the brokerage said.
However, the brokerage said this was not enough to offset
the weakness in search volume and CPCs, and unfavorable foreign
"We would stay on the sidelines until we gain better
visibility into fiscal year 2009," the brokerage said.
Shares of the company were up $4.44 at $332.49 in trading
before the bell on Tuesday. They closed at $328.05 in regular
trade Monday on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Deepti Govind in Bangalore; Editing by Anil