On May 1 last year I went into Motley Fool CAPS, our stock-rating community, and assigned big, bad Google
This isn't because I believed Google's business was due to decline or is an inferior business. Google has proven to be a great business so far, but I did think that Google's share price was disconnected from its business. By my estimates, Google was priced to grow its free cash flow available to shareholders by 20% a year for two decades. That's possible, but given Google's size it becomes more and more difficult as its free cash flow base grows. So my bet was against Google gaining a market capitalization comparable to General Electric
Fast forward a little more than one year to today. According to CAPS, Google has done very well, returning 13.4%, but the S&P has done a little better, returning 15.2%. Google the business actually had a better year, growing its operating cash flow by more than 45%. That's no slam on Google, it's just the business growing into its share price. If Google continues to grow in the next year the way it did in this past year, the story will probably be very different.
Have a different opinion on Google? Tell the CAPS community what you have to say. Only on Motley Fool CAPS does your opinion count just as much as the short sellers'. Tell us what you think: Squeeze 'em till it hurts, or short 'em till the sun don't shine? May the best argument prevail!