P/S and Future Returns


A little over a couple months ago, I posted on the potential predictive value of P/S in high tech investing wherein often these stocks do not have earnings and therefore don’t allow commonly utilized valuation methodology:


In that post and a couple others, I presented data that supported the contention that higher P/S would likely yield lower returns. Many here including Saul were unimpressed by the data or paid little to no attention to P/S.

As an update, here are the portfolio 2 month returns:

P/S < 10 24.7%
P/S >10<14 25.9%
P/S > 14 11.9%

Clearly within each portfolio, there were greater winners and it really was a great period for all portfolios regardless…but the lower P/S portfolios had double the returns of the highest. Keep in mind, these portfolios were during an insane bull market so there could be a different outcome in a bear market but one might surmise the differences would be as pronounced as higher valued assets are pressured in sell-offs.

Again there are few absolutes in investing, but I would argue (have argued) that while the old mantra of “better performing stocks are always expensive” may be true…it has its limits and probabilities…there is a price that is too high to pay for any growth stock.

I hope you can also appreciate that despite one’s self assessment of investment successes this past few months, a mindless portfolio as detailed above did pretty darn well, even one completely throwing valuation caution to the wind. So it would be reasonable to check one’s emotions at the door and be cognizant that one’s own selections and prowess can be little more than random market movements and momentum in sectors or industries.

Sorry to intrude.



I found it bemusing that some here took your 2 month returns and tried to generalize that as a tool to evaluate buy candidates.

As you explained there’s some complexity here and this represents only one 2 month window for the limited holdings represented within your portfolio.

Nice that you shared… but whoa folks… don’t take this out of context.



I think it would be more helpful to compare specifically the software companies (SHOP, OKTA, PVTL, MDB, AYX, etc.) vs. services (TTD, HUBS) vs. hardware (NVDA, PSTG, MU) vs. med tech (ALGN, ABMD, ISRG) etc.

It seems that no matter what PSTG and MU are not going to get a 10x P/S unless they can somehow become dominant like NVDA.

However, for whatever reason ABMD gets valued at 30x (up 50% from your original post), ALGN at 18x, ISRG at 15x.

Chinese stocks seem to always be valued below their American (or Canadian) counterparts.


@duma - for what it’s worth, I always think that P/S is a key metric that is important to consider. It’s not the only metric - in the hyper-growth stocks that are preferred on this board, it is not as important as revenue growth, and various related metrics. And I think it always needs to be balanced against the company’s moat - to me the moat represents pricing power and the ability to grow both the top line and the margin.

Personally, I select companies that I want to own, and buy them at prices I can live with. If I feel a company is overbought/oversold I tend to sell puts (at a level where I’m comfortable owning the stock if assigned) or covered calls to give me some protection and income, while keeping ownership of the company I still believe in.