Jim Cramer thinks the economy psychology behind the massive runs in FANG — his acronym for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet — should become a case study in how stocks don't divorce themselves from fundamentals, but they develop scarcity value.
"These high-flying stocks become something akin to modern art or professional sports teams, valuations that, while they can't be explained by simple numbers, can be absolutely understood from the perspective that there just aren't enough of them to go around," the "Mad Money" host said.
Last summer, Cramer spoke with an NFL team owner about how the price of an NFL team keeps getting higher. At the time Cramer said there would be a valuation peak, and the owner questioned his judgment.
The owner used the example of Steve Ballmer's $2 billion purchase of the Los Angeles Clippers. While many regarded the purchase as an outrageous sum, Ballmer couldn't pass up the chance to buy the Clippers because of scarcity value. NBA teams simply don't go up for sale very often.
This mindset is much like a classic painting. The availability, or lack thereof, sets the price.
Cramer thinks the same valuation could be applied to FANG.
"It's not just that all of these companies are doing very well. It is that no other recent vintage tech company or Internet iteration is really challenging them for supremacy," Cramer said.
Think about it. Facebook has spent its time in the past few years forming itself into a ridiculously profitable enterprise of personal content. The only potential challenger out there was Instagram, and Facebook bought it.
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At various times Cramer thought Amazon would be challenged by a company like Wal-Mart, but that wasn't the case this year. If anything, Wal-Mart is trying to compete with Amazon, but even its efforts are halfhearted, since it's spending $20 billion to buy back stock at the same time.
Cramer found the same lack of competition with Netflix and Alphabet. Other would-be competitors just haven't kept up.
"There is a glut of unicorns, but a real shortage of tremendous and tremendously profitable growth Internet plays. Remember the term psycho-economic. It explains the strength of FANG, and it explains the weakness of Square: too few of the former, to many of the latter," Cramer said.