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New year, new stock – Google? IBM? Which tech?

I thought I should balance the books after picking on Citi, SocGen
and HSBC yesterday by performing a quick look at the IT industry using
Yahoo’s message boards, another favourite.   

I love the message
boards of Yahoo for seeing what investors really think about firms
through trader’s messages and employee’s gripes.  The only thing is
that you get a whole heap of noise in there.  For example, when looking
at Google’s stock you get some intelligent insight, such as this posting from 26th November:

"GOOG Target $900

"Credit
Suisse raised its price target on GOOG to 900 from 800 saying the
Internet giant will create ‘tremendous’ value for shareholders as it
takes over the search market by achieving 100% share and becomes the
operating system for advertisers, enabling them to monitor and optimize
their efforts.  We’ll be there in no time dudes. GOOG kaching!!"

This is followed by threads that say "I’ll buy GOOG at $580.00 and not before" on 9th January; "THIS HYPED POS IS A $180 STOCK AT MOST!!!" on 8th January; and "oh shut the @#$% up you jackass" afterwards … it just goes to show that you can’t believe all you read on the internet 🙂

Nevertheless,
I’d be surprised if Google’s stock, which is almost up at 700 today,
doesn’t reach 900 by end of year.  Meanwhile, what about IBM?

Well,
the stock is almost 100, with some forecasting 50 and other 125 or
higher, you take your bets, and the message board had a posting that
jumped out:

"IBM to break magic Petaflop processing barrier   13-Nov-07 12:47 pm 

which led me to click on the link to CNET News, and lo and behold, I read an article which interests:

"IBM
once again dominated the competition in semiannual rankings of
supercomputers, but the big news is what’s coming next year.  Big Blue
is working on a computer nicknamed ‘Roadrunner’ that will combine Cell
processors, a family of chips found inside the PlayStation 3, and
processors from Advanced Micro Devices.  Roadrunner, which will be
delivered to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National
Laboratory in summer 2008, will be capable of performing more than a
quadrillion operations, or a  petaflop,
when it’s fully operational. IBM helped design and build the Cell chip
and has been looking for ways to expand its commercial potential."

Well, that should put an extra few dollars on the stock I would have thought.

Finally, I thought I would take a look at Intel.  There’s a couple of interesting entries here, such as:

"Goldman vs. B of A   2-Jan-08 04:54 am         [INTC] Today 00:51am
Intel  Corp – BofA Cuts INTC to Neutral from Buy, price target: $26.00

"Goldman’s top semiconductor names for 2008 are INTC, XLNX, FORM,  VRGY, MPWR, ZRAN; Recommends shorting AMD."

along with

"i’m repotting al of u to yohoo.  29-Nov-07 01:32 pm 
"than i’m gonig to cal tha SEC.  they wil tak car of you’r but."

Ah well, you do need a good filter with these message boards.

Then combine these insights with The Vault, and you get a good understanding of a firm inside out. 

For example, the Vault’s comments on Intel are that it has "a
very particular culture – on the one hand emphasizing egalitarianism
and meritocracy, on the other hand bestowing upon its insiders
featureless cubicles and a healthy dose of paranoia. Insiders say
‘Intel is a flexible meritocracy. It increases responsibilities of
people who show they can do the work and want to do more. Raises and
promotions are also based on meritocracy.’  Don’t expect to relax at
this firm. ‘Intel is a little more uptight compared to other big
Silicon Valley companies. There is more discipline and more of a
business-orientation than others’"
… and so on and so forth.  You get the idea. 

So
these are both good sites – along with others – for getting a handle of
a firm, whether you’re investing, dealing, prospecting, selling to them
or just looking to be hired by them. 

Mind you, if you really want to know what tech stock to invest in this year, then read this JPMorgan report
"Nothing but the Net" (312 pages and a major pdf
download).  If you want the short version, then Techcruch gave a great
summary here

The
gist of their report is that it’s just internet stocks that are worth
investing in this year: Google, Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, Expedia,
Salesforce.com, Ominiture, ValueClick, Monster.com, Orbitz, Priceline,
CNET, etc. 

Why?  Because:

  • they delivered 14% earnings growth in 2007 and expect a 34% rise this year;
  • free
    cash flow among five of the top Internet companies (Google, Yahoo,
    Amazon, eBay, and Expedia) will rise from $8.8 billion last year to
    $12.5 billion in 2008 sparking a wave of M&A;
  • search advertising will rise 38% in 2008 to $30.5 billion and will double to $60 billion by 2011;

and a whole raft of other good reasons. 

Worth a read.

Meantime,
the real point of today’s posting is that 2008, for all the reasons
above, will show a rush to invest in Web 2.0 and the socially networked
world … and yet I’ve been using Yahoo message boards and similar
services for over ten years.  It’s funny therefore that we now talk
about Web 2.0 and social networking all the time, and yet these social networks have
been around a lot longer than Bebo, Facebook and Cyworld.  After all,
that’s what these sites are.  The Vault, Yahoo message boards, Friends
Reunited … they’re all ways of connecting, sharing and networking and
that’s what we all want to do these days isn’t it?

So, I’m off to connect with some retail therapy.  See ya later. 

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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