Google: Expensive, or Cheap?

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 |  Includes: AAPL, GOOG
by: Felix Salmon

Herb Greenberg poses the conundrum, which I've translated into table form.

Date Price p/e ratio
IPO: August 2004 $100 52.3
July 2006 $386 65.3
March 2008 $444 23.6
Click to enlarge

By historical standards, the Four Horsemen are trading on very, very low p/e ratios - but their earnings are so strong that their stock prices still look high by those same historical standards.

There is a case to be made that both Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) are (for very different reasons) more media companies than tech stocks. That would fit with the higher earnings and lower multiples that we're seeing right now. But they're also both vastly more inventive and creative than any media company, which means they must have more upside.