The Nasdaq was under fire for the better part of March and thus far all of April. Is the Heartbleed bug to blame? Will Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) stock suffer?
At first glance, Heartbleed seems to be conveniently timed for the Nasdaq drop. However, there has also been a huge drop in the broader market. Firthermore, the infamous SSL encryption flaw known as Heartbleed was only revealed April 7, leaving an entire month of Nasdaq andf NYSE losses unaccounted for. Or, are they accounted for?
Digging deeper, we see a massive onslaught of IPOs in both the Nasdaq and NYSE. From the red ink-laden King Digital IPO (NYSE:KING) that went public in late March, to Paylocity Holding Corp (NASDAQ:PCTY) that went public a week before King, to more mature IPO's like Workday (NYSE: WDAY) and Yelp (NYSE:YELP), it seems that no matter what exchange these IPO bombs were on, nobody was safe.
It comes down to a simple factor: over-supply. Hedge funds love to buy into hyper-growth IPOs to ramp up their portfolio returns, but 2014 simply saw too many for hedge funds to keep up with. In 2013 more 200 companies went public, with only 128 deals done in 2012. Meanwhile, 2014 has already seen 89 IPOs; at the current rate 2014 could see up to 300 IPOs. With the markets gushing with fresh equities, it's no small wonder that hedge funds can't keep up. Sky-high valuations are fine when there isn't a lot of stock supply to go around, but when the IPO market supplies exchanges with more IPOs in four months than it would normally supply in six or eight months, demand simply gets too watered down. You could almost look at it like a quantitative easing program: markets are flush with bonds (in the Fed's case, shares of equities in the NYSE's and Nasdaq's case) and so the return is diminished. In the same way, there are so mnay shares of stocks that fresh IPOs with astronomical valuations are just not as palatable.
So where does this leave Google, if Heartbleed is not to blame for the Nasdaq drop? According a National Journal article, Google has known all along about Heartbleed, and simply omitted to inform the federal government. In other words, it appears Google may have always known about Heartbleed data breaches, and for all intents and purposes has been letting them happen.
So, should the recent public revelation of the security compromise hit Google's balance sheet? Not likely. The only way for Google to be affected by a security flaw like Heartbleed, which will likely be forgotten in time just as the 2011 flash-crash was forgotten, is by a contraction of internet breadth. More specifically, if all of a sudden people and companies shy away from using the internet, performing Google searches, and utilizing mobile internet, then Google will probably see its sales slip. Google is also not likely to see phone sales slip. Google's newest line-up of phones use Android 4.4, which is immune to the Heartbleed bug. Only Android phones running Android 4.1.1 and earlier are at risk of a Heartbleed breach, and those phones have long since been sold and accounted for, for the most part.
What is most likely to happen? Google, Amazon, Microsoft or IBM will "discover" a patch to the thus-far incurable Heartbleed internet disease. Once that happens, you can expect business as usual at Google.