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Why the Dow Transports index is all wrong: No Uber!

May 26, 2015, 7:17 PM UTC
Photo illustration of logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street in Madrid
The logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone over a reserved lane for taxis in a street is seen in this photo illustration taken in Madrid on December 10, 2014.
Photograph by Sergio Perez — Reuters

I have one market theory: the tape is good or bad.

Technology has been factored into almost all industries because the world is socially and mobile connected. The one that lags behind is Wall Street. Yes, Wall Street has given us derivatives, 4x leverage ETF’s, HFT’s and a crowd around the one pipe at The Fed, but it will never catch up to the world in mobile and social.

Wall Street, in the era of social leverage, is left to hoarding, scheming and chasing — giving the individual has an unprecedented edge. Here is one recent example:

Most investors have heard of Dow Theory. I have always been skeptical that stock market averages must confirm each other, but not enough to care… until recently.

There has been much chatter – usually from the under-invested, or people on the wrong side of the trend – that the Dow Transports has not confirmed the ‘New Highs in the Dow Jones.’

The Dow Transports is made up of 20 stocks. This link has a good breakdown. What the old Dow theory does not take into account is Uber, Lyft or their legion of competitors. Not to mention Google Maps, etc.

Love or hate Uber, its recent $50 billion valuation makes it worth $300 million more than Federal Express (FDX). FedEx did $49 billion in sales in 2014 so I am sure every Wall Street analyst is scratching their head. FedEx also works on just a 5% profit margin and carries $7 billion in debt.

Based on my modern interpretation of a ‘Transportation Index’ – one which includes Uber – all-time highs have been a daily phenomenon.

I live on the edge of old and new and the noise and the quiet. I love them both. I would be a better investor if I was not fascinated by the noise and just fascinated by the new.

History is important. Math is important. Price is important. Who you follow is important.

Wall Street and Dow Theories on the other hand…

Howard Lindzon (@howardlindzon) is co-founder and chairman of StockTwits, and general partner of angel investing firm Social Leverage.