The Eyeballs Have it: Searching for the Value in Internet Stocks
38 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2000
Date Written: January 2000
In this paper we provide insights into the manner in which (relatively sparse) accounting information, along with measures of internet usage, are employed by the market in the valuation of internet firms. Consistent with those who claim that financial statement information is of very limited use in the valuation of internet stocks, we are unable to detect a significant positive association between bottom-line net income and our sample firms' market prices; in fact, the association is actually negative. However, when we decompose net income into its components, we find gross profits to be positively and significantly associated with prices. In addition, both unique visitors and pageviews, as measures of internet usage, are found in most instances to provide incremental explanatory power (in some cases considerable) for stock prices. We also separately analyze the e-tailers, and the portal and content/community firms (the p/c firms) in our sample. For the e-tailers we find that bottom-line net income generally has a negative association with stock prices (as for the sample as a whole), while a positive and significant association exists for the p/c firms. In this respect, p/c firms' shares behave more like those of non-internet companies. Further, we find for the p/c firms that the incremental explanatory power of pageviews and of unique visitors is approximately the same; in contrast, pageviews has much greater incremental explanatory power for the e-tailers than does unique visitors. This suggests that pages viewed per visitor is an especially important metric for the e-tailers, as compared to the p/c firms.
JEL Classification: G10, M41, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation