In the investment world a bubble is a frenzy in which an asset is bid up way above its true value. We have seen this happen to technology and housing. When the party stopped, a lot of people lost a lot of money.
I believe we are in a tech bubble right now. Last time any company with “.com” in its name shot up whether or not they made money. This time it is limited to a small number of companies that are market leaders. At one point Tesla was worth more than GM even though it is losing money. Now some seem to think Amazon will devastate all brick and mortar retailers.
They announced the purchase of Whole Foods to jumpstart their grocery business. This set off a total panic. Kroger has lost over a quarter of its value and Dollar General is down 7.5%. Unfortunately I owned both of them.
These drops make absolutely no sense. First of all, the deal might not even go through. Someone could make a higher offer or there could be regulatory problems. Second, Whole Foods is having some difficulties. People love their groceries but not their prices. Third, I don’t see home delivery taking off. People want to look at the fresh meat and produce they buy. Finally, the drop is disproportionate. Kroger is seven times the size of Whole Foods. To justify the low price for Kroger you have to assume that Whole Foods will almost triple in size and every dollar of growth is at Kroger’s expense.
The great Warren Buffett said “When people are greedy, I’m fearful. When people are fearful, I’m greedy”. Amazon is a wonderful company but I would rather pay $10 for a dollar of Kroger earnings than over $60 for a dollar of Amazon earnings.