The four horsemen of the Apocalypse were so named in the New Testament of the Bible. They are a symbolic prophecy of the subsequent history of the Roman Empire.
In today's market world we often talk of the leading technology names, or 'horsemen' being Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet (Google), which form the acronym FANG for which Jim Cramer and I together named this group back in 2013 on an episode of Mad Money. These are the growth names of the present and future, the best of breed names with their products/services on the cutting edge of technology. And while these stocks have been stellar performers in 2017, so has the 'old' horsemen, and they have been receiving a great deal of attention.
The 'other' gang of four that has been putting in a pretty nice performance, and has for a few years now.
We will have to modify the old list of horsemen by one name. Dell is no longer a public company on its own (it is now Dell Technologies, a merged company with Dell and EMC, but no longer the exact same PC growth company it once was, the best performing stock in the 1990's). To replace Dell we will insert Oracle, the 'old' tech favorite to join Microsoft, Cisco and Intel as the names to watch.
Make no mistake, these stocks have felt the pain and suffering of market cycles, and back during the dot.com
days they were all lifted to extremely high valuations, unsustainable by any stretch of the imagination. But back then the stock market was in a bubble, and as we know bubbles can exist far longer than anyone can imagine, just ask those who tried to sell short these and other names like Amazon during the crazy time of late 1999 into early 2000. At that time the Nasdaq soared 80% in less than six months - lead by the four horsemen above.
How have these companies been performing lately? Look no further than Microsoft, which has transformed itself from the 'one trick pony' of Windows to an array of services that has attracted an A list of clients. They have made the necessary transitions and investments into the cloud and other 'pies' to put them in a competitive position. Mr 'softy is at all time highs and is the third most valuable company behind Apple and Google.
How about Cisco Systems? The former leader has been also making a painfully slow transition, and while it is far off the all time highs Cisco has positioned itself well for the future in a very competitive sector. The stock recently reached levels not seen since the 2000 decline. Like Cisco, Intel is also lagging behind but has also managed to transition away from its core, the PC. They continue to dominate their space but are relying on new investments and inroads into new technologies. No company is better positioned for the future.
Lastly there is Oracle, the database company that has moved into cloud as a big competitor. The stock is not far from its all time high levels and moves rather slowly, but with a strong management team and vast resources this stock could continue its remarkable rebound from the depths of the 2009 financial crisis when the stock flirted with single digits.
In the final analysis, we may have new growth-type names that drive the headlines, but let's not forget about the stodgy old names, the original four horsemen of technology - they have proven willing to adapt and thus have rewarded investors willing to be patient.