Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Taking Stock of Internet Stocks in 2012: And the Winner Is … AOL?

aol-logo

Back at the beginning of 2012, very few people would have picked AOL as the hottest Internet stock of the year.

And yet with only four trading days left, the New York-based portal is up 99.8 percent for the year, which is more than double the 49.4 percent rise in Amazon’s shares for the year to date and slightly less than four times more than Apple’s 28.4 percent.

I included AOL — which got its big lift via a series of deft financial transactions and other rejiggering of the business by CEO Tim Armstrong — in a group of 10 Web stocks, most of which saw decent rises since January 3, 2012.

After AOL and Apple, Netflix saw a 30.2 percent rise, followed by a 21.8 gain by Yahoo, which has only recently risen due to increased investor confidence in new CEO Marissa Mayer.

In contrast, Google — one of the Internet’s most powerful players — only managed a 9.8 percent increase, which was still about double Microsoft’s at a 4.2 percent bump.

That’s a whole lot better than the trio of laggards that tanked in 2012. The best of the worst has been Facebook, which is down just 29 percent. That’s a lot better than earlier this year, mostly due to increased investor confidence about its mobile prospects.

But nothing has been able to lift either Zynga (down 75.2 percent) or Groupon (down 77.6 percent) from the stock doldrums they have been caught in since their IPOs.

It’s the mirror image to AOL’s performance — a situation which could well change. After all, AOL dropped from $23.78 to $15.10 in 2011.

Here’s a pretty comparison chart to look at:

AOL


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald