Hey, Jeff. As the guy who sits next to you at Fool headquarters, I know you enjoy a nice game of online poker from time to time, so I'm not surprised that you're also attracted to a risky stock like Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Overstock
Currently, Overstock's 12-month trailing revenues are $641 million. As you report, management expects meteoric growth from here, with projections of $1.5 billion in sales for fiscal 2006 and $2 billion in sales for fiscal 2007. Apparently, this will all trickle down to the bottom line with $0.75-per-share profits slated for FY06 and anywhere between $3 and $5 per share to be delivered in FY07. In the best of all possible worlds, my dear Dr. Pangloss, I'd be the first to purchase some shares under this fanciful scenario.
Alas, this isn't the best of all possible worlds, because our world is always changing. In other words, "stuff" happens. I've already noted that competition in this arena is likely to intensify, which will put pressure on revenue growth. Most of the projections seem to assume a static business environment. We also don't know for sure whether the company will be able to offer the same level of customer service as it attempts to grow its business almost fourfold in two-and-a-half years. How would a deterioration in this area affect customer retention rates?
Another unknown relates to the company's technology. Will it be able to handle all of this forecasted growth?
Finally, will the company be able to continue losing money by going up against Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick eBay
One thing we do know is that the company's operating loss doubled last quarter. Could that be the start of a worrying trend? Maybe. Maybe not. As the bulls seem to be asking investors to take a flier on an unprofitable company with an uncertain future, I feel that the burden of proof should be on them. Rather than rejecting the entire bullish case out of hand, I'd recommend the old Scottish verdict in response to Jeff's argument: "Not proven."
When you're done, you're still not done. You can vote and let us know who you think won this Duel. Overstock.com was recommended last year in our Rule Breakers newsletter service. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. For a 30-day free trial to Rule Breakers, click here. For a free trial to Stock Advisor, click here.
John Reeves does not own any of the companies mentioned above.