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Shares of Web search leader Google–off 24 percent from highs set last month–could face a further 50 percent decline, Barron’s said in the financial weekly’s Feb. 13 edition.

Barron’s scenario for a fall in Google’s stock is based on speculating about what may happen if mounting competition or fraud by users of its Google’s ad-buying system led to a 20 percent shortfall in bullish analysts’ 2006 revenue estimates.

The weekly uses a back-of-the-envelope calculation to show how a 20 percent revenue miss could cascade into a 30 percent profit shortfall. Such a drop could then lead to a decline in the price-to-earnings multiple of the stock to 30 times earnings from the present P/E ratio of 41, it said.

“That would make the stock worth $188, versus its recent $360,” Barron’s reported. The stock traded at levels above $471 on Jan. 11, but closed at $362.61 on Friday on Nasdaq.


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