Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Looking back, it was a big mistake.

In fact, it was an enormous mistake.

I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t jump all over Google stock when it came out. Like many investors, I’m somewhat gun shy of big technology companies, and sometimes I just don’t have the courage to listen to my instincts.

Deep down, I just knew that Google stock would do well. After all, the company met all my requirements for stock selection. The company was a true innovator in its industry, it had a solid track record of success, it boasted reasonable financial metrics (relatively speaking), and offered strong growth prospects. The company and its stock had the momentum of the investment community and the media. In many ways, it still does.

The stock originally came to the market at $85 per share in August 2004, but it was tough to get in on the offering. One could have easily bought the stock around $100 per share, generating a substantial gain given the stock’s current price, at around $288 per share.

Recently, investment firm Credit Suisse First Boston, which maintains an “outperform” rating on the stock, raised its 12- month price target on Google to $350. In a research note, the firm wrote that it expects substantial volatility in the stock, but the company’s operational momentum justifies its high valuation. Most interestingly, the firm cited that, on a relative basis, Google’s valuation is similar to Yahoo! and just slightly ahead of eBay. This is an important distinction, because just about everyone on the Street expects Google to grow faster than either Yahoo! or eBay ever did.

Hindsight is always 20/20, but the Google story is one of those unique opportunities that happen every once in a while in the stock market. It is difficult to predict where the stock will go from here, but the probability is that it will go higher yet.

This story serves to illustrate that it takes courage for a stock market speculator to step up to the plate. It also justifies the age-old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”