This year has proven to be the year of FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google), but will those stocks’ momentum carry into 2016? This has been a topic of heated debate, but at least one firm is arguing that next year the big internet trades will follow a new acronym: BAGEL, which stands for Alibaba (BABA), Amazon, Google, Expedia, and LinkedIn.
Internet stocks broadly outperform
RBC Capital Markets noted that the Internet sector performed very well this year, although large cap stocks in the sector posted incredible performance. The FANG group posted an average increase of 81% in 2015, which means the valuations of all of the stocks aren’t nearly as compelling as they were a year ago. And FANG weren’t the only large cap Internet stock to smash the rest of the market this year. In all, RBC reports that 11 large cap stocks in the sector outperformed the market.
At the opposite end, however, we have small cap Internet stocks, which underperformed the market broadly. Among these stocks are AOL, King Digital, and Zulily. Six merger and acquisition deal among small cap Internet stocks provided nearly all of the outperformance for the small cap sector, and ten of the small cap Internet stocks fell by more than 20% this year.
Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google: a.k.a. FANG
In 2015, Facebook climbed 31%, Amazon was up 106%, Netflix skyrocketed by 144%, and Google parent company Alphabet rose 41%. Looking at the broader collection of large cap Internet stocks, the average stock returned 21%, while the average small cap Internet stocks declined 11%. But not all large cap Internet stocks were strong performers this year. Twitter, Yahoo, Alibaba and Zillow didn’t have such great years. The biggest underperformers among large cap Internet stocks were Yahoo, Twitter and Alibaba, with Twitter repeating its pathetic stock price performance from 2014 this year.
Their sad performances weren’t enough to drag down large caps, however, as FANG boosted the whole large cap portion of the Internet sector to an average return of 21% and 13% at the media, reports RBC. Here’s a look at the performances of the 15 large cap Internet stocks the firm covers:
Secular growth to continue in Retail, Advertising, Travel
Despite FANG’s searing outperformance in 2015, two stocks managed to make it onto RBC’s hot list again this year, and they are Google and Amazon. According to RBC analysts, the top three outperformers in their large cap Internet coverage universe were Netflix, Amazon and Expedia, which returned an average of 98% and contrasted sharply with 2014 as both Netflix and Amazon ended the year in the red.
For 2016, the RBC team likes Online Advertising, Retail and Travel, noting that their growth rates have been consistent and accelerated in some areas over the last few years. For example, Alphabet has posted between 16% and 21% growth in organic ad revenue over the last 11 quarters. Facebook has also posted consistent growth rates.
Looking at Retail, Amazon has seen Retail revenue growth of 17% to 24% for the last ten quarters, hitting a three-year high of 27% in the third quarter of this year. In Online Travel, Expedia and Priceline have also posted consistent growth rates over the last three years, with Expedia seeing rates between 23% and 30% over the last seven quarters.
Unit growth trends
When looking at units, RBC analysts argue in favor of Alibaba, Yelp, Netflix, LinkedIn, Expedia, Priceline, Amazon and Alphabet. They note that unit growth rates have been decelerating, but they were still mostly robust this past year in both large and small caps. In fact, some have even seen more than 20% growth year over year in key metrics.
Over the last 23 quarters, only three companies have continued to see revenue growth of about 20% or more on a run rate of more than $10 billion, and they are Google, Amazon and Priceline. Although Google and Amazon did miss these numbers slightly late last year and early this year, their overall growth trends have remained “impressive,” the RBC analysts said because of their huge sizes.