At what price growth? At what price safety? It's a delicate balancing act, and investors are often forced to reach some sort of unsteady compromise between the two.
Take Indian IT specialist Infosys
Strip away the expectations, though, and it's pretty tough to dislike the quarter that Infosys delivered. Revenue rose more than 32%, and while gross profit eased ever so slightly, operating margin improved, and the company experienced better than 34% growth in operating income. Along the way, there was also positive news on client wins, new hires, and the number of high-value clients.
The fundamentals here all seem to be intact. India is the place to be in the IT world, and competitors such as Inside Value pick Accenture
The issue, though, is price -- or rather, the risks that the price brings. Can Infosys continue to grow? Absolutely. Will the stock be higher next year than it is today? I won't bet against it. The trouble, though, is that the stock is priced for near-perfection, and the perception that it has fallen short from quarter to quarter will play havoc with the stock and investors' nerves.
So if you can make your peace with the valuation and withstand the swoons that come along with so-called disappointments, by all means go ahead. For my part, though, I find stocks like this to be just a little more excitement than I really need in my life.
For more informative IT Takes:
Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).
More from The Motley Fool
Why Palo Alto Networks, Inc. Stock Climbed 15.9% in 2017
Despite some sales hiccups early on, the leader in next-gen security platforms just capped a stellar year.
Why A10 Networks Shares Plunged Today
The networking company's fourth-quarter revenue fell shy of guidance.
What Investors Want to See From Zoe’s Kitchen in 2018
After a terrible 2017, can the fast-casual Mediterranean chain bounce back?