Displaying items by tag: valuations
The market has become very worried about tech valuations. Even with recent selloffs, tech stock prices are very rich. However, despite the broad fears, some fund managers are ditching the concerns, as they think the obsession with P/E ratios is short-sighted for tech. In particular, one manager says that he likes to think about how tech companies will look as mature businesses, and thus judging them by their current P/E ratios is unfair.
FINSUM: We agree that it is hard to assess tech stocks according to standard P/E ratios. They are growing much faster, have much higher margins, and have a brighter future than stocks in any other sector of their size. Accordingly, it is hard to contextualize their P/E ratios because there is no benchmark.
Many investors are currently worried about the potential for a tech bubble. Between high valuations, data breaches, and a growing call for more regulation of the sector, it is easy to feel bearish. However, Barron’s is telling investors to not be too worried. The opinion is based on analysis of tech price movements and outperformance against a new Harvard study. Historically speaking, a bubble can be referred to as at least a 100 percentage point outperformance of a sector versus the market as a whole over a two-year period, followed by at least a 40% drop over the following two years. By that metric, the tech sector isn’t even close, as it has only outperformed the market by 36% over the last two years.
FINSUM: So this was a valuation-based study, but it could theoretically also be applied to individual stocks. When you do that, both Amazon and Netflix look vulnerable, as both have satisfied criteria for a bubble.
Many investors are constantly on the look out for the next bubble. Well there is a new one right before their eyes, but many are not seeing it. Leave stocks and bitcoin aside for a moment, and look at private equity. Many say the current market is just like the Dotcom bubble, with valuations way too high and way too much optimism on growth and business models. “It is quite amazing that there is no collective memory that goes beyond five years” say an Oxford professor. Part of the problem is that fundraising has been really strong, which has led to more money flowing into companies, pushing up multiples. The other is the broad availability of debt funding for buyouts, with one industry specialist saying “These are unashamedly incredibly attractive conditions to borrow money. Will that debt be available to buyers in five years’ time? Probably not. Buyout groups are bullish to take the risk in 2018. It’s a ’risk-on’ environment”.
FINSUM: Aside from the reasons cited, the valuation of the stock market is another factor that is pushing up valuations. The sector looks likely to have a reckoning.
Some analysts are growing increasingly wary of the real estate market as valuations continue to rise higher. Now, more fringe signs that the market might be getting toppy. A new practice is being favored by Wall Street that looks like a sign of froth—so-called “drive-by” valuations. The practice involves local real estate agents driving by properties to do valuations at glance. Much cheaper than traditional appraisals, they were outlawed for use in regular mortgages after the crisis. However, at the institutional buying level, they are still allowed and thriving. The Wall Street Journal sums up the scale and shoddiness of the practice best, saying “Now these perfunctory valuations abound, underpinning tens of billions of dollars of home deals. Sometimes the process is outsourced to India, where companies charge real-estate agents a few dollars to come up with U.S. home values by consulting Google Earth and real-estate websites”.
FINSUM: This is an absolutely terrible idea, and is exactly the kind of pooling practice that leads to dangerous buildups. Foreign companies doing US home valuations with Google Earth? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.