Akamai Crushed, Outlook Still Attractive

This will be a fairly short post since I had no plans to write about Akamai (AKAM) today, but after reporting in-line earnings this streaming video content provider is getting slammed to the tune of 18% this morning to $38 and change. Akamai is one of those high multiple growth stocks that everyone expects to beat numbers every quarter. After meeting expectations and guiding in-line for the third quarter, analysts are downgrading and investors are fleeing.

I think the sell-off is overdone and I am initiating some positions this morning. The company’s fundamentals remain strong as online video has years of growth ahead of it. All of the sudden the stock trades at only 23 times 2008 earnings. For a growth stock like AKAM, I think that is a bargain. Many investors will worry about margin pressures and such since it appears they are giving price discounts for long-term contracts, but most likely the company is just being conservative.

Given the market they serve and their leadership position, I think a 23 forward year multiple for the stock is pretty cheap. These are the types of earnings season sell-offs that I often like to play on the long side. AKAM shares weren’t worth the price at their highs ($57), but now that they are down 35% to $38, I think that falls into “growth at a reasonable price” territory.

Full Disclosure: Long shares of AKAM at the time of writing