Google shares plunge below $500

Shares of Google fell below $500 for the first time since August, days after a lackluster fourth-quarter earnings report and a $42 billion buyout offer from Microsoft for Google's largest rival, Yahoo, an Asociated Press report said.

Google shares fell $20.47, or 4%, to close at $495.43, the Associated Press report said.

They have ranged from $437 to $747.24 over the past year.

Shares of Google have fallen about 12 % since Microsoft's $42 billion bid for Yahoo was announced Friday. Google reported its quarterly earnings after the market closed Thursday, the report said.

The Associated Press report also said Stephen Houck, a former antitrust enforcer in New York state, predicted that Google could have a hard time raising antitrust concerns over the deal.

Additionally, on Sunday Goldman Sachs analyst James Covello removed Google from the 'Goldman Sachs Technology Favorite Growth' list, citing a recent sell-off in the shares. He noted the stock has fallen 14.1% since it was added to the list on January 18, exceeding a stop-loss threshold, the report said.

In a note to clients, Covello attributed the sell-off to concerns about Google's exposure to an economic downturn, particularly in light of the company's fourth-quarter results, which missed Covello's estimates and the Wall Street consensus.

However, the analyst maintained a 'Buy' rating, and called the stock's valuation compelling, the Associated Press report said.

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