Thursday, 4 August 2016

A Random Walk Down Wall Street - Part One 5: Stocks and Their Value

Chapter 4. The Biggest Bubble of All: Surfing on the Internet

1. The NASDAQ Index, an index essentially representing high-tech New Economy companies, more than triples from late 1998 to March 2000. The P/E ratios of the stocks in the index that had earnings soared to over 100.

2. Amazon sold at prices that made its total market cap larger than the total market values of all the publicly owned booksellers such as Barnes & Noble. Priceline sold at a total market cap that exceeded the cap of the major carriers United, Delta, and American Airlines combined.

3. Cooper, Dimitrov and Rau found that 63 companies that changed their names to include some Web orientation enjoyed a 125% greater increase in price during 10 day period than that of their peers. In the post-bubble period, they found that stock prices benefited when dot-com was deleted from the firm’s name.

4. The relationship between profits and share price had been severed.

5. Security analysts $peak up:
a. Mary Meeker was dubbed by Barron’s the “Queen of the Net.” Henry Blodgett was known as “King Henry”. Henry flatly stated that traditional valuation metrics were not relevant in “the big-bang stage of an industry.” Meeker suggested that “this is a time to be rationally reckless.”
b. Traditionally, ten stocks are rated “buys” for each on that is rated “sell.” But during the bubble, the ratio of buys to sells reached close to 100 to 1.

6. The writers of the media: the bubble was aided and abetted by the media – which turned us into a nation of traders. Journalism is subject to the laws of supply and demand. Since investors wanted more information about Internet investing opportunities, the supply of magazines increased to fill the need.

7. The result was that turnover reached an all-time high. The average holding period for a typical stock was not measured in years but rather in days and hours. Redemption ratios of mutual funds soared and the volatility of individual stock prices exploded.

8. History tells us that eventually all excessively exuberant markets succumb to the laws of gravity. In the early days of automobile, we had close to 100 automobile companies, and most of them became roadkill. The key to investing is not how much industry will affect society or even how much it will grow, but rather its ability to make and sustain profits.

9. The lesson here is not that markets occasionally can be irrational and, therefore, that we should abandon the firm foundation theory. Rather, the clear conclusion is that, in every case, the market did correct itself. The market eventually corrects any irrationality – albeit in its own slow, inexorable fashion. Anomalies can crop up, markets can get irrationally optimistic, and often they attract unwary investors. But eventually, true value is recognized by the market, and this is the main lesson investors must heed. 

A Random Walk Down Wall Street - The Get Rich Slowly but Surely Book Burton G. Malkiel

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