The stocks of Amazon, Netflix and Tesla are animal-spirited love affairs that defy traditional metrics. Lots of people were disappointed when Amazon reported last week, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out why. The company is simply continuing its build-out as the world's largest retail store. It has been going down that path since its inception, and it is expensive to dominate the world. So the quarter was status-quo. If you liked it before, you should like it after even as it has become hideously overvalued by any metric.
Netflix? You can actually make an earnings case for it if you go out far enough -- certainly much further than this year's earnings estimates, against which the stock sells at at P/E ratio of 228. Again, though, if you like Netflix and you think the world will like it, too, you can see why the stock might be cheap if everything works out, internationally. You obviously think it will because, alas, it works for you. Darn the valuation -- full speed ahead.
Tesla is, in many ways, the toughest. Unlike Amazon and Netflix, whose products are widely used, only a handful of people have test driven a Tesla auto, let alone bought one. Yet the company is valued at $16 billion, largely because its product is fascinating, it works well -- at least for now -- and it is highly rated by Consumer Reports. The company was able to show a level of profitability that all of the rigorous analysts out there have said is chimerical, yet this was enough to allow many of Tesla's boosters to push the stock hard. BMW rolled out a rival car Monday, but that only made the Tesla stalwarts more bullish -- because the comparisons, alas, did find the BMW version wanting.
Still, Tesla has a lot in common with Amazon and Netflix. The bulls foresee mass adoption of a car that will put all other automakers to shame. As long as Tesla has access to the capital markets and can tap them if it needs to do so, I don't see how this cult will run out of gas, or battery life, at least for now.Now, if you ask me whether I like Amazon, Netflix and Tesla, I say: "Absolutely." They are the best three firms in their respective classes. In fact, they are in classes by themselves. But if you ask me whether I would buy their stocks with my Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust, the answer is, "No." That's because these companies simply don't meet the criteria that has saved me so often in the past, even as it cuts off the potential future upside. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, had no positions in the securities mentioned.
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