On Twitter, Ryan P. Dolan asks, "If we are in a Nifty Fifty 2.0 environment, beyond the obvious members (AAPL, AMZN, GOOG, MSFT, FB, NFLX, TSLA, MA/V, etc), what other companies would you include?"
It's a good question. I agree with Mr. Dolan that today's stock market echoes the Nifty Fifty era of the early 1970s. Many large-capitalization stocks are trading at high price-to-earnings and price-to-revenue multiples, but unlike during the technology bubble of 1999-2000 and the housing bubble of 2003-06, the speculative excesses we see now aren't limited to one industry or sector of the economy.
Instead, like in the early '70s, investors are bidding up glamorous companies--ones that are growing quickly or have high returns on invested capital--irrespective of their industry. The Nifty Fifty was a mix of established-but-still-growing blue chips and newer, sexier companies; likewise for today's market leaders.
I'm going to take a stab at his question and offer a Nifty Fifty 2.0 below. The original Nifty Fifty was an informal, unscientific list, and so is mine. For instance, Apple doesn't trade at exorbitant valuation multiples, but it's undeniably a market leader and glamour stock, so I'm including it. Notwithstanding that, each company on my list has a market cap is $10 billion or more, along with some or all of the following characteristics:
• It's popular among hedge funds
• It's been described as a quality business, compounder, or disruptor
• Its leader has been described as an outsider CEO or a great capital allocator
• It has a price-earnings ratio above 25
• It has an up-and-to-the-right stock chart
• Much of the stock's performance since 2009 has come from multiple expansion
The new Nifty Fifty
Activision Blizzard (ATVI)
Align Technology (ALGN)
Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA, BRKB)
Booking Holdings (BKNG)
Charter Communications (CHTR)
Electronic Arts (EA)
Google (GOOG, GOOGL)
Home Depot (HD)
Idexx Laboratories (IDXX)
Intuitive Surgical (ISRG)
JP Morgan (JPM)
Palo Alto Networks (PANW)
Roper Technologies (ROP)
Ross Stores (ROST)
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO)
Texas Instruments (TXN)
TJX Cos. (TJX)
United Health (UNH)
Verisk Analytics (VRSK)
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a cult favorite that's grown steadily, has a revered CEO, and trades at a high multiple, but I excluded it because its free float and trading volume are relatively small.
I wanted to limit the list to American companies, but Alibaba (BABA), ASML (ASML), Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), Constellation Software (CSU), JD.Com (JD), Shopify (SHOP), Spotify (SPOT), and Tencent (TCEHY) are foreign companies that are beloved by American investors, have well-known growth stories, and trade at rich valuations.