This paper builds on our recent work highlighting that many of the market’s highest quality firms are trading at discounts to the broad market. The exhibits that follow provide potent evidence that today is one of the most compelling times in history to adopt a simple dividend investing strategy in Consumer Staples. Specifically:
- Tech Investing: The recent mania for loss-making tech firms and impossibly priced “Nifty Fifty” stocks has inhaled capital and left many of the most proven and profitable firms at historic discounts
- Staples – An Income Investing Strategy: The yield famine in markets today combined with the historical power of investing in Consumer Staples creates a compelling opportunity to buy the market’s best assets
- Trading Places: Why today is a terrific time to start selling out of overpriced tech and buying into Staples
This newsletter has not been afraid to suggest that the market is deep in the grip of a mania similar to the one seen at the peak of the Nifty Fifty and the Internet Bubble of 2000. As the cadence of those papers has increased, so have those dedicated to exploiting an increasingly wide array of superb investment opportunities in some of the best companies. Before adding to our expanding series advocating for long-tenured, profitable, growing, and dividend-paying firms trading at reasonable prices, we think it is worth reminding readers of the severity of today’s pricing dichotomy.
Aside from the obvious arithmetic headwinds facing today’s Nifty Fifty, the next major problem can be seen in Figure 1 below. This is the market cap of Large Cap IT firms losing money. Approaching a trillion dollars, the losers are now worth ~30% more than the same group was at the peak of the internet bubble. In a rare breach of policy, Kailash will make a forecast: we doubt the tech IPO pipeline is brimming with profitable tech firms. The situation will only deteriorate as Wall Street does its job filling demand for neat tech stocks lack credible and self-funding business models.
As Kailash explained in How to Build a Growth Stock, even if all these firms owned a proprietary and critical new technology like a few firms in 1999 did, paying obscene multiples for money losers is still a mugs game. While the post-2000 losses in the IT high-flyers were horrendous, that bubble built the internet and transformed society and the world. Figure 1 strikes us as fearsome evidence that speculators are chasing the “shiny objects” in tech ever higher, and participants in the frenzy would be wise in reducing exposure.
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