Are stocks that light up the exchanges with huge sales volumes automatically a good buy simply because millions of investors, possibly including some smart money folks, are chasing them? Well, there are no easy answers to this question. The response depends upon the specifics of each particular situation. But at least in the case of three stocks with exceptionally high volume –Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) – bigger does not necessarily mean better.
Facebook remains a puzzle
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is designed to connect people; untold millions share pictures and other information through its network. In many ways, though, it has not managed to connect investors to the profits they had hoped to earn. And that is the case despite the fact that its moving average trade volume for a recent 100-day period was a stratospheric 48,395,824 shares.
Its fundamentals are hardly stellar by anybody’s reckoning. Most notably, its stock price history change for the last 52 weeks is -21.22%. And that figure goes a long way towards explaining why its trailing price-to-earnings ratio, which is calculated on the basis of past performance, is a “sky high” 537.28. Granted its forward price-to-earnings ratio, a figure that relies upon estimates of future earnings for 2014, is a much more reasonable 32.10. But who knows if that prediction will stand the test of time.
Two other fundamentals which are designed to measure how efficiently a company is run are also concerning, as they might point to some managerial lapses. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s profit margin is only 1.22% and its operating margin remains an unimpressive 9.66%.
Zynga: the caution lights are flashing
Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) develops, markets, and operates online social games on social networking sites and mobile platforms in the United States and globally. This company ranks as one of the NASDAQ’s most active; its moving average trade volume for a recent 100-day period was 30,656,766 shares. But this high volume might not necessarily indicate that buyers are flocking to it in exceptionally large numbers. Rather, it might be reflective of Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s low sales price, which ranged from a low of $2.09 to a high of $6.36 during the past 52 weeks. Buying at low valuations means you can purchase more shares.
There’s also one other flashing yellow light that might actually be red depending upon your perspective: Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA)’s year-to-year revenue growth for the first quarter of 2013 is -17.90%, and its diluted earnings per share for that same period was -0.16%. This latter figure points to other disappointments, as Zynga’s return on equity was calculated at -6.59%
Blackberry: a slump that might be more than a bump
Research In Motion Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) manufactures and markets strategies for accessing e-mails and other correspondences. As of this writing, at least, investors might be more pleased with having its platform integrated into their mobile devices than they would be carrying its stock around in their portfolio.