A Love Supreme

 | Dec 12, 2013 | 2:28 PM EST  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

twtr

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tsla

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nflx

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amzn

I have a confession to make. I want my family to love me the way the market loves Twitter (TWTR), Tesla (TSLA), Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN).

It's the kind of love that means you never have to say you're sorry. It's the type of love that's sweet and kind and with you every day -- a gentle hug, a warm holding of the hand -- and it doesn't need any reassurance. It's a love that says, "Just be as you are, don't go changin'."

I admit, I'm jealous of the affection I know I will never get because it is so pure and unstinting.

I'm not the only one who is jealous, by the way. The people who compete against these companies are jealous, too. When you get off the desk and speak to the managers who compete with these companies, whether they work in the auto business, the entertainment business, retail or even on-line, they are green with envy.

I can't tell you how many execs in retail tell me how unfair the love is for Amazon. "When do they have to make money?" is probably one of the most asked questions in my lexicon. The whole retail industry was livid at the Amazon "chopper" story appearing just when everyone was scrambling for on- and off-line customers. I can't tell you how many complained to me about the chopper stunt. They always say that Amazon doesn't play fair, but what they really mean is that investors love Amazon so much more than they love their store chains that it doesn't need to show profit to get the stock up. I always wonder how much the stock will go down when it is bound by earnings instead of dreams. Then again, a Jackson Pollock's worth a heck of a lot more than a Rembrandt, the old gold standard, so don't hold your breath.

People at Ford (F) have worked so hard to get the company's costs down worldwide while boosting sales, only to find that Tesla gets a valuation that's outrageous per the 25,000 cars it might make this year. Ford sells that many cars in a day. Yet Tesla's worth $17 billion and Ford's worth only $64 billion. That's affection personified. No one wants a car fire, but I am sure that the execs at the other car companies were glad to see that something can stop the juggernaut. But the more days we go without a fire, the higher the stock will go.

Netflix annoys the heck out of all the purists. How can a company owe as much money as it does and be so at the whim of the entertainment industry and, presumably, at the mercy of the cable companies? Yet that's not how the buyers see it. They prefer Netflix to TV. Members of the younger generation who are drawn to stocks want to put their life savings into the darned thing. They aren't thinking about off-balance sheet obligations. They are thinking about how they can get into The Walking Dead, even when they are late to discovering it.

Of course, they also love the original programming, even though Netflix doesn't own the programming. Orange is the New Black? House of Cards? Arrested Development? How many times did you have to tell someone not to spoil the show? How many times did you binge on Netflix to catch up? The younger generation loves the push, the suggestions and the ability to watch what their friends are watching. They even love the fact that so many cool documentaries are available. So why the heck shouldn't they love the stock?

Which brings me to Twitter. You hear about how corporations are embracing Twitter and love the format? Let me make one thing perfectly clear: The real reason they like it is that, unlike Facebook, they typically don't have to pay for the good word of mouth. So why is the stock at $54 and being valued at more than 2x any metric you can choose in a head-to-head comparison with Facebook? Simple: The users love it. In a twist on an old razor ad, they love it so much, they bought the company.

How long will these amorous relationships last? I have no idea. But those who thought that Amazon, Netflix or Tesla would have somehow jilted their customers/investors have lost fortunes betting against the love. I bet the same thing will happen with those who bet against the crush these buyers are showing for this new wonderful darling of a stock and a company. They love retweeting and favoriting stuff over and over again. And this is just the very beginning, the going-steady phase. Just wait until they get engaged!

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