The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (
) -- I was in the middle of writing the numerous reasons why
was doomed from the outset of its NYSE listing. Visions of investors driving off a cliff in pursuit of the first big social-networking play kept repeating in my mind. Then I started paying attention to my Twitter feed. One after another I saw bearish commentary. I had company. Everybody on my Twitter feed agreed that LNKD is overvalued, overhyped. A bubble. A scam. A ploy to suck your money back into the market.
I decided to begin looking into the headlines. One after another: bearish. Mega-bearish. Nuclear-bearish. Then I saw one lone bullish article. It was like a small squirrel scurrying through the leaves among the heavy footsteps of the bears. That small squirrel was Henry Blodget. His article about LNKD's prospects was written before the stock ramped up 100% yesterday. (The stock is up again today, by almost 10%.) Nevertheless, it was the only piece of bullish commentary I could find.
Earlier in the trading day I had written a brief thought about how LinkedIn was going to hurt investors. It still might. But I am beginning to think the timing of its pullback may be a lot longer than most expect. The markets hate crowds. It doesn't matter what your numbers tell you about where a stock should be.
How many times have you bought a stock based on an arbitrary valuation metric and it did nothing for months? Years? A decade? Those numbers only mean something when they mean something. That means if there is no catalyst that allows the juice to flow out of the orange, it will simply remain in the bowl untouched.
The same thing goes for overvaluation in a stock. By every metric available -- based on current estimates -- LNKD looks extraordinarily overvalued. The market works in funny ways when it comes to mass realization of overvaluation. Two types of investors tend to be active in stocks that experience mass realization of overvaluation:
1. Nervous longs: Buyers who believe the stock may be good for a short period of time but are quick to hit the panic button and eject once it drops 5% or 10%. These same nervous longs end up chasing the stock higher on every spike. This creates a support dynamic for the stock. They essentially want to own the company while avoiding the pain of the investment falling to Earth once gravity catches up.
2. Short sellers: By nature, short sellers are active in the marketplace. They will take profits on drops. They will also cut their losses and run should the stock spike. They tend to be more technically orientated traders. Short sellers also create a support dynamic for companies' stock.
Precipitous drops in a company's stock price only happen when everybody is on one side of the fence. Short sellers have vacated the premises due to massive pain inflicted by a skyrocketing stock price. Longs have all boarded the plane. There is nobody left below the market to supply a bid once buyers turn into sellers.
The dynamic I describe here may indeed end up becoming the modus operandi for trading in shares of LNKD over the intermediate term. Stocks simply don't experience the type of drop people are expecting with LNKD when everybody is expecting it. Valuation be damned. Market conditions be damned. Rational thinking be damned. Sometimes it's just that simple.
I'm on Team Blodget. Whodathunkit?
Ali Meshkati is founder of Zenpenny.com, a Web site focused on investing in restructurings and special situations in micro-cap and small-cap stocks. Prior to Zenpenny, he managed Trillian Capital Partners LP, a top-ranked macro hedge fund. He has been trading the financial markets since 1994, working as an adviser to both individual clients, as well as an institutional trader with Bank of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.