2-Star Stocks Poised to Plunge: HomeAway?

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, online vacation rental marketplace HomeAway (Nasdaq: AWAY  ) has received a distressing two-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at HomeAway's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

HomeAway facts

Headquarters (founded) Austin, Texas (2004)
Market Cap $2.94 billion
Industry Internet information providers
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $200.8 million
Management Co-Founder/CEO Brian Sharples
Co-Founder/Chief Strategy Officer Carl Shepherd
Trailing-12-Month Operating Margin 9%
Cash / Debt $111.6 million / $0
Competitors Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) (Nasdaq: PCLN  )
Travelzoo (Nasdaq: TZOO  )

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 31% of the 52 members who have rated HomeAway believe the stock will underperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bears include hagrin and starz188.

Just last month, hagrin touched on HomeAway's seemingly unsustainable valuation: "Add it to the internet bubble of [LinkedIn] and [Pandora]. I'm going to be short on all of these stocks after they have been public for a few hours because none of them have the revenues or profits to justify these valuations."

In fact, HomeAway sports a particularly lofty forward P/E of 69. That represents a clear premium to rivals such as Google (13), priceline (17), and Travelzoo (20).

CAPS member starz188 also believes that the HomeAway bear case all boils down to price:

They're not a bad company. They really aren't. ... They've been steadily growing revenue since 2006, and they finally emerged in the black in 2009 (net income). ... They have cash on hand, decent assets on the balance sheet, and reasonable liabilities. ... However, no matter how much I look at their financials, I just can't see a $3B company!
Not yet, anyway. They have some serious growth potential in Europe, and their renewal rates are rising, along with web traffic. This is a healthy company -- just not quite worth the current valuation.

What do you think about HomeAway, or any other stock, for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to protect your portfolio from any undue risk. Staying away from dangerous stocks is crucial to securing your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to flag them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!  

Interested in another easy way to track HomeAway? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, priceline, and Travelzoo. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 17, 2011, at 11:16 AM, jimmy4040 wrote:

    Nearly all the RB picks valuations this year have been absurd for THIS market. Last year I was in the bottom ten percent of CAPS ratings. As of today, I'm almost at the halfway poiint. Did I change? No, the market did. I am very cautious about my optimism, and CAPS is the complete opposite with wild-eyed projections usually ruling the day.

    In a bull market, CAPS will be incredibly prescient. In a bear market it will be totally off. This isn't rocket science.

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