Everyone's been talking about it for over a year, but the chatter is turning into a rumble among business pundit types just as the S&P Index hits another record high. Yes, this is looking more and more like a bubble every day, and at least one guy (writing for the New York Times), is saying, "It’s looking like 1999 in the stock market."
Writing on The Daily Beast, Daniel Gross is saying "I told you so," in reference to his 2007 book Pop! Why Bubbles Are Great for the Economy. He says we're already seeing the typical stages of investment bubbles:
"A few solid years of impressive fundamental growth give way to highly ambitious projections and world-changing proclamations; a host of new entrants run onto the field, oblivious to profits or many of the other basics of running a business; individuals and naïve corporations start to get in on the action with bold, aggressive moves; and in the most dangerous stage, the phenomenon crosses over into popular culturei.e. from CNBC to NBC."
He notes faddish companies like King Digital Entertainment, makers of Candy Crush, thriving (though its earnings are dropping), companies like Facebook dropping billions for risky, high-profile products that get them press, and companies that exist almost entirely in order to market themselves, like Box. Pets.com, anyone?
Jeff Sommer in the NYT suggests that valuing AirBnB at $10 billion, which it recently was, is a sign of irrational exuberance, given that it's a hotel company that owns no hotels, and that value puts it higher than the entire Hyatt chain. But, a lot of stock prices are being backed up by earnings, moreso than in 1999-2000, and the bubble may be just confined to biotech and certain internet stocks (ahem, Twitter).
The BBC has taken a more measured approach, saying that, yes, Twitter and its Chinese equivalent Weibo haven't made any money and are likely overvalued. But, technology does permeate our lives and impact other industries to a much greater extent than it did in 1999, and "that the value of [tech] stocks is more reasonable than during the heyday of 'irrational exuberance.'" While the dot-com boom saw internet company IPO prices shoot up 88% on their first days of trading, the average these days for tech stocks is just 40%, and there's greater price-to-earnings basis for the prices than there was back then.