While FAANG stocks were under pressure throughout October, Apple (AAPL) was helping to keep the market afloat.
Although just one company, its $1 trillion market cap acts as a significant weight in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices. So as the waters began to get choppy, many investors were able to hide out in what they believed was one of the safest vessels still around.
Then the company reported earnings, and that safety line keeping the boat near the docks disconnected and out wandered Apple into the violent and volatile sea with the rest of FAANG.
Down more than $50 from its highs just last month, Apple is now in bear market territory. It joins Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) in that infamous territory. However, with Wednesday's rally, Alphabet (GOOGL) is out of its bear market, defined by a decline of 20% or more from the highs.
While it may not maintain that status for long, it's an encouraging sign for investors looking for any sort of hope in this market. It also begs the question, is Alphabet the best FAANG stock to buy?
A Closer Look at Alphabet Stock
Current estimates call for full-year earnings and revenue growth of ~30% and 23%, respectively. That's pretty impressive growth rates for a company sporting a market cap north of $725 billion. While those expectations for 2019 slow to 12.5% earnings and 19.5% revenue growth, we still have to appreciate the rate in which Alphabet continues to grow its sales.
We also have to appreciate its assets.
Google.com and YouTube.com are the top two most popular websites in the world, while Alphabet has successfully rolled out new business segments. For instance, its autonomous driving unit, Waymo, has fetched long-term valuations in excess of $150 billion from analysts. Its cloud unit has quickly become one of the largest in the market and exhibiting impressive growth rates. As Alphabet continues to make innovations in smart home products, smartphones, mobile search, cloud, autonomous driving, artificial intelligence and online video, its assets become more and more valuable.
It's important for technology companies to build on their legacy businesses, in order to fuel revenue growth. As they become more efficient over time, they can become more profitable, but Wall Street will continue to care about sales growth, nonetheless.
Thankfully for Alphabet, we're not talking about a profit-less, debt-ridden overvalued entity. In fact, the company is quite profitable and trades at a relatively healthy 25 times this year's earnings. That may not seem all that reasonable to some investors, but for a blue-chip technology stock with 20% annual sales growth, I find it reasonable for long-term investors.
Further, while Alphabet may not have the balance sheet and cash flow power of Apple, it's no chump on its own. Alphabet has more than $106 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, with just $3.9 billion in long-term debt.
Below $1,000 per share and the stock, technically speaking, may be in some trouble. But if that level holds, buyers won't regret nibbling some Alphabet stock on this decline.Want to Buy $1 Worth of Stock for 90 Cents or Less? You can with certain so-called "closed-end" mutual funds - an often overlooked investment class. Click here to register for a free online video in which TheStreet's retirement expert Robert Powell and an all-star panel tell you all you need to know.