Nifty Fifty and the FAANG Stocks

After the parabolic rise of the “Nifty Fifty” stocks in the 1960s and early 1970s, this group of 50 large-cap, blue chips equities “proceeded to dive and lose more than half their value in the ensuing bear markets of the mid-1970s.” This, according to a recent article in CNBC, should serve as a “historical warning to generations of investors of the heavy price to pay for unbridled, uncritical enthusiasm.”

At their peak, the article says, the Nifty Fifty (which included names such as Coca-Cola, Xerox and General Electric) were trading at 42 times earnings. “Some of these stocks, “it says, “remain viable businesses today, but since the start of this century, none of these names have been anything but terrible investments.”

The article draws similarities between the Nifty Fifty and today’s dominant stock group comprised of Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft (which it refers to as “FAANG” plus “M”). It argues that the FAANG phenomenon is more “dangerous” than the Nifty Fifty because it lacks diversity and the stocks could therefore be “vulnerable to a massive sell-off the moment they hit their natural limits of growth.”

The article concludes that those investors who are “unabashedly bullish on the current crop of superstar stocks would be wise to learn their stock market history.”