This week, Amazon.com released a great earnings report that propelled the most well known “internet stock” to a new all time high. As a person who experienced the internet stock bubble firsthand, Amazon’s stock popping 25 points in a single day gave me a little feeling of nostalgia considering that I haven’t seen an (American) internet stock perform that well in many years.
Nevertheless, die hard buy and hold investors must be ecstatic. If you had bought Amazon at the top of the tech stock bubble, it’s taken a long time — a decade in fact — for investors to finally turn a profit.
So in recognition of Amazon’s performance, I thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane with a few high flying tech stocks to see just how well they’ve performed over the last decade. Of course, from an investor standpoint, it’s important to realize just how long it would have taken to actually make your money back by buying at the top of the bubble, as well as the importance of knowing how to spot a bubble once it has formed.
Everyone loved JDSU in the late 90s. From the commentators on CNBC to my cohort of college investor buddies who would always offer to spring for a second round of drinks just because JDSU went up another 30 points from the previous weekend. Then, once the bubble popped, everyone dropped poor ol’ JDSU faster than a … well, you get the idea.
If ever there existed a chart to epitomize just how severe the tech bubble really was, JDSU might take the prize. (I’m sure anyone who thought DrKoop.com was a long term buy and hold would disagree.)
The aforementioned Amazon.com finally broke through it’s 1999 high to reach a new all time high.
Guess that half cocked idea of selling books (or powertools, or lawn mowers, or darn near anything else) via the internet wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Probably makes Jeff Bezos feel pretty good about himself considering lots of “experts” called him a wacko back in the day.
Big blue is called “Big Blue” for a reason. It’s one of Wall Street’s most well respected companies, which didn’t experience nearly the sell off that most tech companies experienced. It hasn’t quite made it back to its tech bubble all time highs, but it has paid a steady dividend along the way which sets it apart from almost all the other tech companies.
Even the company that supposedly allows the internet to be the internet hasn’t regained it’s former glory. Even with the post stock market crash rally, Cisco is still down 75% from it’s all time highs.
The Apple that we see in 2009 isn’t the Apple that existed in 1999. Steve Jobs wasn’t in the picture, no one but Napster had made any significant headway on the MP3 front, and Wall Street really didn’t care all that much about Apple because everyone thought that Microsoft would take over the world.
However, I included Apple in this simple case study to show how well a stock can perform — regardless of stock market crashes and investment bubbles — when Wall Street believes a true growth story exists.
If you know of another high flying tech stock from the late 1990s that has made a new all time high in the 2009 rally, be sure to leave a quick comment below. Locating one will probably be more difficult than you think!