Shares of Alphabet Inc. dropped 2.4% toward a seven-week low in midday trade Friday, after Citigroup raised concerns about search spending growth. Analyst Mark May said his checks with two leading search engine marketing (SEM) agencies, which have a combined view into $5 billion in spending a year--the bulk of which is done on Alphabet's Google--suggested search marketing spending growth could decelerate in the second quarter vs. the first quarter. "This could be slightly below current forecasts, though how we interpret the data and what to compare it with is sometimes up for debate," May wrote in a note to clients. He said current expectations call for year-over-year marketing spend growth to remain unchanged at 18%. May said that although the data is from just two SEM companies, and don't include all of June, he would not expect any upside to his second-quarter forecasts, and said there was a possibility that revenue falls 1% to 2% shy of consensus estimates. The FactSet consensus is for revenue of $16.87 billion. The stock has now lost 9.2% year to date, while the S&P 500 has gained 1.2%.
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