Digital search giant Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL), along with the rest of the tech sector, continues to fall largely in sympathy with Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) stock. Google stock is now 10% off its recent highs. FB stock is 15% off recent highs.
The pain in Google stock started earlier this week, when news broke about a massive data breach at Facebook that affected 50 million users. But this data breach, as with all other data breaches before it, will pass. Regulators will give FB, GOOG, and others a slap on the wrist, but not much more.
Users won’t really care because some never knew about the breach, a majority of those who did know about it don’t really care, and the rest don’t care enough to stop using Google or Facebook.
Meanwhile, if users don’t care, neither will advertisers because all they want are eyeballs.
All in all, then, nothing will change about Google’s business model as a result of Facebook’s data breach. Regulation won’t tighten in any meaningful way. Usage won’t fall off. Advertisers won’t churn.
That is why I think this a very obvious “buy the dip” situation in GOOG stock. Nothing has changed about the narrative besides near-term headline risks. Those near-term headline risks will disappear almost as quickly as they appeared.
I still believe Google stock rallies to $1,300 by the end of the year. With the stock trading at $1,060 just under 4 months into the year, I think recent weakness is a great buying opportunity.
Here’s a deeper look.
Data Breach Risks Are Way Overstated
The stock market always gets concerned about data breaches. But none of them every amount to any serious long-term damage.
In the social media world alone, there have been multiple data breaches. None of them have materially affected revenue or user growth.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) had a sizable data breach in mid-2016. But monthly active user growth on Twitter actually accelerated in the back-half of 2016 versus the first-half of 2016. Snap Inc(NYSE:SNAP) was hacked back in late 2013, and that was before user growth took off like a rocket ship over the next several years.
Even Facebook has had a data breach before, most notably in 2013. Since then, Facebook’s monthly active user base has gone from just over 1 billion to over 2 billion while advertising revenues have grown in-step.
Outside of the social media world, there have also been a ton of data breaches. Again, none of them have really slowed a company’s growth trajectory.
There was the massive Equifax Inc. (NYSE:EFX) data breach in late 2017. That scared everyone and killed EFX stock because the data was exceptionally private and valuable, like Social Security Numbers, driver’s license numbers, and tax identification numbers.
And although politicians screamed and shouted about how bad the data breach was, it looks like EFX is going to get away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist from regulators.
Meanwhile, EFX stock has bounced roughly 30% higher from its post-data breach lows.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has been the victim of multiple data hacks over the past year (see here, here, and here). None of those slowed down AMZN stock, which is up more than 80% over the past year. Paypal Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:PYPL) also had a big data breach in late 2017. That hasn’t affected growth at all.
In other words, data breaches happen all the time. Everywhere. That is the nature of today’s digitally connected world. Instead of a store or home being robbed, data is being stolen online. Perhaps not surprisingly, burglaries are at a historic all-time low.
From this perspective, consumers have somewhat grown accustomed to the fact that their data is being harvested by companies across the globe. Every once in a while, that data gets in the hands of a bad actor.
But most of the time, that data is being used to deliver the consumer an enhanced digital experience complete with ads you actually care about, posts you actually want to interact with, and articles you actually want to read.
In other words, the use of personal data by big companies provides a net positive to consumers.
Bottom Line on Google Stock
Google won’t see much (if any) fallout from the Facebook data breach.
A ton of Google users aren’t even aware of the issue. And of those who are aware, most don’t care and nearly none care enough to stop using Google. If no one stops using Google, then advertisers won’t change anything about their spending habits on Google’s platform.
All in all, Google stock has plunged into undervalued territory because of headline risks which present mitigated threats to the long-term growth narrative. As such, this is a compelling opportunity to buy the dip in GOOG stock.
As of this writing, Luke Lango was long GOOG, FB, SNAP, AMZN, and PYPL.