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No Bubble to Burst: Here’s What Makes Our Tech Titans Different

0 | By Shah Gilani

If you’re wondering whether you’ve been caught in a time warp and its 2000 rather than 2017, you’re not warped.

This wild bull market is being driven by tech.

It’s no surprise that investors are asking themselves, “Is this time different, or is this just another crazy tech bubble?”

While it’s usually the kiss of death to say, “This time is different,” the truth is… this time is different.

That doesn’t mean the market can’t go down.

It means rip-roaring tech company stocks in 2017 are nothing like the rocket-riders that crashed and burned in the tech wreck.

Here’s the facts on the bright stars that are boosting the markets, and the only real threat to this ride…

Use the Right Metric

A lot of investors and financial news media outlets are looking at two sets of numbers when it comes to the market and stocks. Instead of just looking at where the market or a stock is year-to-date (YTD) and whether it’s up or down this year, investors and the financial press are also talking about where things are since the election of Donald Trump.

That’s understandable, because questions about the President and his Administration are right up there. Actually, they’re a good bit ahead of news about tech titans leading the market. But when looking at the market these days, it’s important to keep politics in perspective, as in how they’ve affected the market and how they can affect the market.

I’ll get to that. But first, the crazy facts.

Year-to-date, meaning from January 1 to yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 7%. However, since the election, the benchmark index is up 3,256 points (or 18%). That’s a huge move in only seven months.

Since we’re about to get into the dirt on the tech titans, a better barometer of the market might be the Nasdaq Composite. It’s up 16% YTD, and up a whopping 23% since the election.

Both benchmarks are being led by the tech titans. In fact, any which way you look at the market, using whatever major benchmark you choose, a handful of tech titans are doing all the heavy lifting.

They’re nothing – and I mean NOTHING – like the tech stocks that flew too close to the sun in 2000 and crashed to earth. Nothing.

Here’s why.

The Skinny on Sky-High Tech Stocks

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), the company that flirted with disaster and almost crashed years ago, is now the most highly valued company in the world. Apple’s stock at $153 is up 36% YTD, and an insane 43% since the election. Apple’s closer to the outer universe than crashing to Earth. Its market capitalization, the sum of what all its shares are worth, is a staggering $798 billion. Apple has more than $250 billion in cash. Its annual revenue is now around $221 billion. Its EBITDA (earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization, which is a good apples-to-apples comparison measure) is more than $70 billion!

The next biggest planet in the tech titans’ solar system is Google, or Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) as it likes to call itself these days. Its share price is up 30% YTD and since the election. Google’s market cap is $675 billion. The search engine sensation and advertising juggernaut has revenue of $95 billion and EBITDA of $31.5 billion. Oh, and its sitting on $92 billion in cash.

Then there’s Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT). Good old Mr. Softy’s up 12% YTD and 19% since the election. With a market cap of $541 billion, revenue of $88 billion, and EBITDA of $29 billion… It’s not lost in the clouds, it owns a good chunk of the cloud. It’s way above the Earth’s atmosphere in terms of its gravity in the tech world.

Mighty Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) rolls up next in the constellation of heavyweights. Its stock is up 32% YTD and since the election. Amazon’s changed shopping on the planet, forever. It’s right up there with Microsoft in terms of how big a chunk of the cloud it owns. That’s why it’s market cap is a whopping $476 billion. Investors lamented Amazon’s propensity to keep plowing whatever it earned back into growing itself. They wondered, will there ever be any profits? That’s all behind Amazon now. The company’s throwing off profits and is expected to grow at better than 20% a year for the next five years. Its $142 billion revenues are enough to plow back into growth and yield an increasing stream of pure profits. Amazon’s EBITDA is $12.22 billion, and it has enough cash to cancel out its debt entirely.

Enter Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB). These days, the only thing Facebook’s knocking off is any dust that dares try and settle on it. With revenues over $30 billion, EBITDA more than $16 billion, $32 billion in cash and no debt, it’s no wonder its stock is up 26% since the election and an even better 31% YTD. FB’s market cap is a whopping 440 billion. It’s huge.

Last but not least, Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) is the Pluto in this solar system. Its stock is up 33% since the election and YTD. This relatively small planet has a market cap of only $70 billion. Still, the company generates a decent $9.51 billion in revenue. But it suffers in the EBITDA arena, throwing off only $645 million. But, it’s really about the stock price. If you think Netflix is small potatoes, it’s also the only tech titan likely to get a buyout offer… you never know.

That’s why this time is different. These tech titans aren’t about gathering eyeballs and trying to figure out how to monetize them. They are the eyes into our future and the head and shoulders of the market.

There’s only one problem.

The Future These Stars Hold

Being the leaders of this latest huge move up, a lot of money’s gone into them. If something happens, some panic, they all would see a lot of profit taking.

That’s okay if you’re a long-term investor. And if you don’t own these darling little giants, you’re hoping the market crashes so you can load up on them if their prices ever come down. Keep on hoping.

That’s it for the good news. The bad news is out there, too. It’s in our faces every day: politics.

The only thing that could derail this market in a hurry, besides some geopolitical blow up, is our domestic politics tearing apart the country and the market.

Political hacking, right and left, hasn’t hindered the market one bit. But if real stink bomb in someone’s closet goes off, or if a bunch of stinkers on both sides of the canyon that separates them cross that Rubicon with nukes in hand, all bets are off.

Me, I’m not worried about that. If it happens and the market comes down to earth, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be loading up on all those heavenly bodies otherwise known as the tech titans.

You would be smart to do so, too.

Sincerely,

Shah

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