The bull market is now closer to being nine years old than it is to eight, and it has created more wealth and recovered more market losses than most investors could have ever imagined. Many investors focus on the so-called mega-cap stocks, those worth $100 billion or more, because sometimes there is a perfect storm allowing the large to get even larger. Investors who have bought into the pullbacks and sell-offs have been handily rewarded for taking risk, and those same investors are wondering how best to deploy capital into 2018 and beyond.
Credit Suisse has just become more than aggressive in its mega-cap coverage of the largest internet giants. The firm sees a much stronger landscape for Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook. Outperform ratings were already in place, but the price targets hikes were so large that Credit Suisse is now the most aggressive of all firms when it comes to the analyst targets.
What is amazing about these businesses is that they still seem to have almost limitless growth. All the controversies over too much dominance, playing indirect roles in election tampering, government fines and new taxes just haven’t seemed to keep a lid on them. So far in 2017, the gains have been way above market: Alphabet is up 25%, Amazon up 32% and Facebook up 49%. The Dow is over 15% higher and the S&P 500 is up about 14%.
Investors need to consider many issues when following analyst calls, particularly after the runs that have been seen and considering where we are in this bull market. With Credit Suisse calling for an average upside here of 36%, investors have to consider that the typical upside for Buy and Outperform ratings on Dow or S&P 500 stocks is in a range of 8% to 10% at this time.
Credit Suisse feels that the second half of 2016 marked the beginning of a return to an investment cycle across all the large cap internet operators and that the companies are now deploying incremental capital for boosting operations or to acquire adjacent businesses and profit pools. Credit Suisse’s Stephen Ju and Paul Bieber said:
We continue to believe stock performance throughout the balance of 2017 and looking into 2018 will hinge more on individual company and product-specific catalysts, as opposed to a broader sector-wide theme given the disparate nature of some of these businesses.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) was reiterated as Outperform, but the firm raised its target price to $1,350 from $1,100. The main issue about the grocery war being launched is that it may be about fulfillment rather than on price.
The Amazon report is among the new adjusted reports that have incorporated the Whole Foods financials into the estimates along with the expected incremental delivery costs from Prime Now. Credit Suisse’s report said:
As far as we are concerned, the combination of Prime Now with Whole Foods presents what we had originally thought would be the rollout of Amazon Fresh in late 2013/early-2014. And as we cross-reference WFM’s existing store footprint (by zip code) in the US with Prime Now delivery zones, we find that there is only a 50% overlap. This leads us to conclude that Amazon can over the medium term expand Prime Now’s presence by up to 50% into those cities where the population density matches existing regions. Hence, while price cuts capture the headlines, we submit that Amazon will wage war with its competitors with service instead.