If you are going to do what I do, which is report and explain what the tech companies are doing to merit their lofty valuations, you need to go out to the West Coast and see the executives of these marvelous companies eye-to-eye. If you don't go out multiple times a year, as we do, you can't grasp the incredible innovations and the new products that are the lifeblood of technology.
Think about it. How do you really understand how the cloud is revolutionizing the way people work, as is the case with Workday (WDAY) ? How do you understand the way companies can process billions of bits of information from the cloud or mine all of that data, as New Relic (NEWR) and Splunk (SPLK) do? Can you understand the next generation world of finance, Paypal (PYPL) and Sofi. Or the wonders of what's being done with silicon at Applied Materials (AMAT) or how Intel's (INTC) transforming from the brains of the personal computer to the heart of the data center and autonomous vehicles, while HP's (HPQ) using Intel's legacy chips to make PCs exciting again. Or how the president disintermediated the press by reaching hundreds of millions of people at once via Twitter (TWTR) . Or how to stop cyber criminals from stealing your allegedly safe bitcoin investment the way Fireeye (FEYE) does.
I like to think of my trips to the West as a form of paying homage to the greatest innovators of our time. You can't just interview them by satellite, you actually have to press the flesh, so to speak to earn their trust. Watching innovation with my own two eyes? After thirteen years of Mad Money I can safely say it's the most exciting part of my job.
After seeing all of those executives I can tell you that you won't go wrong owning any of those stocks. I singled out Intel as the cheapest, but that doesn't mean the others aren't worth owning. You won't lose if you pick a few of these non-FAANG -- Facebook (FB) , Amazon (AMZN) , Apple (AAPL) , Netflix (NFLX) and Alphabet (GOOGL) -- technological marvels for your portfolio.
But you know which of these innovative companies I am most interested in highlighting for one moment? The one I haven't mentioned yet: Clorox (CLX) .
Yep, Clorox, the consumer products group company that I regard as a stealth tech machine.
All of the obvious tech companies I talked about have pure growth, much of it double digit, driven by customer demand.
Clorox? It's trying to scratch out a couple percent of growth, which, amazingly, puts it in the more elite portion of its cohort. For this more than 100 year old company it's become innovate or die. Develop new product or see your stock go so low that it gets gobbled up by a bigger competitor.
So what does CEO Benno Dorer do? He comes up with new line extensions for natural and organic divisions, like the lipstick from Burt's Bees, or new wipes from the old Clorox brand that kill germs better than anything else in the world. He buys health and wellness supplements and stretches them a foot of a store to a yard with line extension innovations. And to get the word out to the next generation of consumers he puts half of his budget on line where the new consumers now live.
Now, what do you do with the stock, down 22 points from its high, selling at 20 times next year's earnings with a 3% yield. The market does not like the stock right now or the group. I think you may have to wait to see the next quarter before you find terra firma. When you do, though, it's the stock for those who fear the volatility of tech, who want the security of a century's worth of household innovation, with a steady stream of income to fall back on when it finally gets there.