Technology stocks have done well this year. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) bottomed out in March and by late October was up more than 60%. Tech has performed better than any other sector year-to-date – up 33.7% as of Friday’s close.
Part of the tech gain is related to how new media companies are categorized. Some of the stocks that make up the sector probably don’t belong there. Companies like Google (GOOG), Ebay (EBAY), and Mastercard (MA) are considered tech stocks. The first two inherited the space because they are more internet-based than other companies. However, Google is more like a giant newspaper that gets its revenue from advertising. Like other media companies, GOOG might fit better in the Consumer Discretionary group. Ebay is an auction house – same thing. Mastercard is a credit car company but for some reason is not listed as a Financial. Yet all three companies contributed to the dramatic rise of the sector this year. Technology is more diversified than it looks.
Another Consumer Discretionary-like stock may soon be added to Technology sector: Facebook. Although not yet public, Facebook is heading toward an IPO. In September, Facebook announced it was cash-flow positive, making enough money to cover the expenses of its 300 million users. This is more than can be said for Amazon (AMZN), which had negative cash-flow for years after going public.
Facebook is a a social media company. For those not yet in the club, Facebook allows users to build personal web pages and connect to “friends” in the network. According to Alexa.com, Facebook is now the 2nd most visited website on the planet – just behind Google. It’s big, it’s growing, and it’s almost surprising that it took so long for the company to make money.
In September, we told you how to buy a few other tech stocks in the media space. Today, we offer another way to get into social media before Facebook’s IPO. Last year, Facebook started allowing employees to sell stock. This helped open a secondary market for their pre-IPO stock. If you want to buy Facebook stock before their IPO, check out two sites that specialize in these sorts of transactions: Sharespost & SecondMarket. This isn’t a recommendation, just a tip. Buyer beware.
Disclosure compliant with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 covering writer, editor, and publisher: No positions in any of the securities mentioned. No positions in any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned. No income, revenue, or other compensation (either directly or indirectly) received from, or on behalf of, any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.