Google shares soar 20% to record gain

Google's stock soared 20%, restoring €17.7 billion (US$28 billion) to the share price as Wall Street renewed its love affair with the Internet search leader after weeks of worry about online advertising slowing down.

Google delivered stellar first quarter results that surprised analysts, an Associated Press report said. Google's shares surged US$89.87 (€56.77) to finish at US$539.41 (€340.74). It marked the biggest gain in one day since Google's initial public stock offering in August 2004, leaving the shares at their highest closing price since January.

Google had lost favour with investors as web surfing data and the faltering US economy raised concerns. It was feared that people aren't clicking so frequently on Internet advertising links, which generate most of the Mountain View-based company's revenue.

Although there were signs of less clicking in the US, Google more than offset any negative effects by expanding its foreign business and tweaking its online ad system in a way that helped reap more revenue per click.

The first quarter performance reinforced the belief that Google is a 'must-own stock,' American Technology Research analyst Rob Sanderson wrote in a note.

Dinosaur Securities analyst David Garrity is also convinced that the worst is over for Google's stock, which was down 35% in 2008 before the first quarter earnings changed investor sentiment.