While the Dow sets new records, tech stocks still haven’t recovered their dot-com bubble peaks – but they’re working on it and it looks like punters are making the same mistakes.
Take the reaction to Amazon.com’s quarterly results last night. The internet shop announced its profit plunged by a third and net margins were squeezed to less than 1% – but the share price rallied 12% because the company’s sales were up by nearly a quarter to US$2.31 billion.
Treat Amazon like any other retailer and you’d conclude it’s buying market share and paying the inevitable price, but that’s what the unrepentant dot-com believers still love to hear.
To put the business in context, Amazon has a market capitalisation of US$15.8 billion – about the same as the takeover-heated Coles Myer. But it trades on a price-earnings ratio of 53 compared with 14.3 for Coles.
Amazon certainly has the ability to boost its sales figures with free delivery promotions, but it seems to find profit growth a much harder task.
Furthermore, Amazon is a long way from being a startup – that was last century – but it’s still being treated like one long after its competitors with bricks or clicks have managed to show they can compete profitably with it.
And now it’s facing new competition from the likes of iTunes which already supersedes parts of the Amazon model.
But never mind profitability, feel the sales growth. Déjà vu all over again.