Take one look at the stock market and you might be tempted to scream “bubble!”After all, the S&P 500 has now blasted through levels we’ve seen during the dotcom bubble and the housing/credit bubble.
However, taking a brief glance at some indexes is no way sniff out a bubble.
In a recent note to clients, Javed Jussa and the quantitative strategy team at Deutsche Bank take a deep look into the various bubble indicators.
“Our findings suggest no strong evidence of a technology bubble,” they conclude.
Among other things, they look at trends in venture capital, which doesn’t get enough attention among those following the public stock markets.
Venture capital is the capital invested in very young companies long before they go public, assuming they do go public. It’s money for startups.
“Interestingly, during the Dot-Com bubble, venture capital firms were funding more telecommunication and networking equipment companies,” wrote the analysts. “However, more recently, venture capital firms are funding software companies. In fact, more recently, there is a significant increase in funding provided by venture capital firms for software companies. This data is in line with recent headlines and hints at a potential bubble in private software companies.”
OK, so that’s the mix of investments. But what about the actual dollar amount being invested in these risky companies?
“[T]he amount of cash for equity investments by venture capital firms was far greater during the Dot-Com Bubble,” they note citing data from The MoneyTree Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.
During the height of the dotcom bubble, venture capital deals totaled north of $US25 billion per quarter.
Since then, the quarterly number has trended between $US6 billion and $US9 billion per quarter.
In Q4 2014, it was $US8.369 billion.
So, while we may be hearing a lot of anecdotes about venture capital, that actual numbers don’t tell us we’re in a bubble.
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