Today I sold all of my Red Hat (RHT) stock at $24.51 per share. I bought about half at $17.91 per share on January 21, 2008 and half at $10.86 on November 14, 2008.
This is in no way a reflection of lost optimism about Red Hat the company. I think they will continue to gain share in the server operating system and middleware markets. They have a great product (Linux Enterprise Edition) and serve their customers well.
Nevertheless, I do not like to bet on market psychology or price momentum. By the numbers Red Hat's stock price has gotten ahead of itself, especially compared to other technology stocks that have not run up as much. Last quarter revenues (not profits) were $175 million. So at a flat run rate 2009 revenues will be $700 million. Yet the market capitalization for the stock is $4.6 billion. There is a lot of optimism built into that market cap number. My guess is that in 2 years Red Hat will easily justify that number, but today I would rather have the cash.
I am going to continue to do analyst conference summaries for Red Hat. If the price dips, or if revenues and profits accelerate faster than I am assuming, I could buy back in. I watched Red Hat a long time before buying in; it is one of my favorite stock stories.
The next Red Hat results and analyst conference is scheduled for September 23.
See also Red Hat's site.
And keep diversified!