NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) - Get Facebook, Inc. Class A Report did what it did on its first earnings conference call as a public company. I listened to the call. I read the post-mortems. And, frankly, I'm ecstatic to start a two-week vacation on Monday.
It's both a thrilling and thoroughly depressing time to be a long-term investor.
Thrilling because dividend stocks continue to receive their due. It's fantastic to see such a core strategy reward patient investors. That's one of the few bright spots in a scatterbrain market. Please don't call it volatile. The reactionary ups and downs and the overdone broad-based and stock-specific selloffs that we've seen have been nothing but the workings of a beer-league stock market.
It's thoroughly depressing because we should reflect less on the alleged Great Recession. We should halt the hysteria, fueled by
, who drive fears of a global depression.
We're living through the "Great Contradiction." This bewildering zeitgeist should frustrate patient and visionary long-term investors.
In one breath, we bash companies for how they handle their cash. We brand them un-American if they park it overseas or find some way to pay less tax on the capital they do keep onshore. For goodness sake,
practically got bullied into paying a dividend.
Then, in the next breath, we scoff as pioneers such as Facebook,
when they aggressively reinvest in their businesses.
We're walking contradictions. On one hand, we stress patience. We run around quoting the world's greatest investors -- "Buy when there's blood in the streets! Be greedy when others are fearful!" When the time comes to
do likewise, gents
we refuse to walk the walk. Investors do not want to hear about long-term opportunity if it delays their perverted need for instant gratification.
I would be beyond depressed about the Great Contradiction if
did not exist to restore sanity to the markets. Yes, sanity.
Who knows what will happen going forward, but it was refreshing to watch AMZN do what it always does after an earnings report. It pulled back and then recovered. Often, it takes several trading sessions for this process to play itself out. On Thursday, it took place in one after-hours period.
Investors tend to give Amazon the benefit of the doubt because it runs its business rather allowing the business to run it. Jeff Bezos has always advocated and executed a proactive strategy of aggressive reinvestment.
In Q2 alone, the company's capital expenditures came in at a whopping $657 million. According to Amazon's guidance, they'll go up in the current quarter to between $800 million and $900 million. Though Amazon stock continues to be one of the most resilient in the market, a loud chorus of (soon to be insolvent) bears can't help but take exception with the spending.
Amazon builds buildings in the United States. It employs people in the United States. It drives economies. And, soon, it will help balance more than a few states' budgets.
After it redefined the space, it continues to further transform retail and participate in the emergence and disruption of everything from the cloud to streaming video.
Laugh now, but you won't be laughing in 10 years when Amazon fills your heart medication and sends you your Depends with free two-day shipping.
Why in the world wouldn't the stock go up? Amazon practices the tenets of capitalism and, supposedly, of being American.
Never be satisfied. Invest in yourself. You gotta spend money to make money
and all that.
Meantime, the Facebooks, Pandoras and Zyngas of the world get punished for very ably following in Amazon's footsteps.
Somebody please explain the Great Contradiction to me without using the same old tired arguments about valuation. I need something novel to think about while I'm on holiday.
At the time of publication, the author was long FB, P and ZNGA
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.