Why would anyone bother with ANZ shares when there are growth opportunities like this?

Another day, another fresh all-time high for the Nasdaq, with record highs for Apple, Google’s parent AlphabetMicrosoft, and Facebook.

No such joy for us Australians, the S&P/ASX 200 Index down 18 points to 5,938, dragged down by mediocre results from Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ). More on that below…

With the Nasdaq hitting another record high, naturally, the doomsters are warning such moves mean we’re in for a replay of the dot com crash.

Here’s what they are missing…

– All five tech giants are profitable, and have incredibly strong competitive positions.

– They have massive cash balances. Apple has close to $330 billion ($US250b) in cash alone on its balance sheet.

– They have plenty of growth opportunities in their core businesses, and have the cash resources to invest in ventures that should pay off in the future — driverless cars, virtual reality, India, the cloud, acquisitions…

– For companies their size, they are growing quickly. Last week both Amazon and Alphabet reported quarterly revenue growth of above 22 per cent. Microsoft, as a more mature company, is growing slower, but its cloud business is going gangbusters. Apple and Facebook report this week.

And then there’s valuation.

Alphabet — trading at a modest 23 times forward earnings estimates.

Apple — just 15 times forward earnings estimates. The company now counts Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway as the largest owner of Apple stock.

Facebook — 22 times forward earnings estimates.

Microsoft — 21 times forward earnings estimates.

Amazon — focuses on growth opportunities, not near-term profits. For all the talk about its impending arrival in Australia, India and its 1.3 billion population is the far bigger fish in the ocean.

There’s nothing overly concerning about those valuations, especially when you consider the dominance and competitive advantage of these companies, their growth rates, their cash balances, and their global opportunities.

The comparison to the ASX’s large cap stocks couldn’t be starker.

Sure, a big bank like ANZ has a very strong domestic competitive position, but is growing slowly, last year it lowered its dividend, and in an outlook statement today said…

“The environment for banking remains constrained with intense competition and pressure on margins, subdued lending growth, rapidly changing customer expectations and increasing regulation.”

All this at a time of record low interest rates, record high house prices, record high levels of household debt, and low impairment rates… all strong tailwinds for a bank.

No wonder the ANZ share price has fallen 76 cents, or 2.3 per cent to $32.19 in early trade today.

And then there’s valuation: ANZ Bank shares trade at around 14 times forward earnings estimates, not cheap for a highly leveraged bank in a country where house prices can surely now only fall.

In contrast, fellow ASX blue chip Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) reported strong 3rd quarter sales, exceeding the market’s expectations, something that sent the Woolworths share price up 51 cents to $27.54.

Over the past 12 months, the Woolworths share price has jumped 22 per cent higher. So much for all blue chips being dead.

Except… no-one ever made money looking in the rear view mirror. And for the Woolworths share price, looking ahead, things get a whole lot tougher from here.

Firstly, Woolworths shares are trading at around 21 times forward earnings estimates. For a slow growing company with limited growth prospects, that’s expensive.

Secondly, like Coles, they are ‘investing’ in further lowering prices and in staff. In short, sales growth is coming at the expense of profit growth.

Thirdly, as Woolworths themselves say, there is “ongoing competition and promotional intensity.” Coles. Aldi. IGA. All at a time when household budgets are under pressure and wages growth virtually non-existent.

And lastly, in the most recent quarter, the Woolworths Australian supermarket count decreased by one to 978 supermarkets.

Do you fancy paying 21 times forward earnings estimates for a company that’s shrinking? And that’s not even including Big W, which is expected to make a loss of between $115 and $135 million in the second half of fiscal year 2017.

Here in Australia, the period since Trump’s election victory and now has been characterised by a huge switch out of smaller, growth stocks and into blue chips.

Mining stocks have caught an uplift. The share prices of all the big fours banks have been going gangbusters.

But the tide is turning. 

Investors are waking up to the risks in ANZ.

Very soon they’ll wake up to Woolworths’ limited growth prospects.

They’re already seeing what happens to mining stocks when the iron ore price comes off the boil, as it always does. The Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) share price has fallen more than 22 per cent over just the past three months.

Australian investors simply don’t buy US-quoted stocks.

Buy they can buy fast-growing ASX technology stocks. These “hidden gems” are flying under the radar, but offer attractive risk-reward opportunities.

Gentrack Group Ltd (ASX: GTK) develops billing and CRM software for energy utilities and water companies as well as comprehensive operations systems for airports. Its software is mission critical, value-adding, and very difficult to strip out or replace. The company is growing quickly, making smart acquisitions, and trades at around 25 times forward earnings estimates.

Pro Medicus Limited (ASX: PME) has delivered explosive growth over the past two fiscal years with revenue roughly doubling and pre-tax profits roughly quadrupling thanks to major wins for the company’s medical viewing software. Pro Medicus is not obviously cheap, but keeps winning new contracts, and is expected to deliver significant earnings growth over the next two years.

Over the past three months, the Gentrack share price has jumped 45 per cent to $4.35 (and is up almost 5 per cent today) and the Pro Medicus share price is up 20 per cent to $5.51.

Money chases performance. And when the money wises up that the blue chips have had their day in the sun, and that small-cap growth stocks are now where the action is, look out above.

Top 3 ASX Blue Chips To Buy In 2017

For many, blue chip stocks means stability, profitability and regular dividends, often fully franked..

But knowing which blue chips to buy, and when, can be fraught with danger.

The Motley Fool's in-house analyst team has poured over thousands of hours worth of proprietary research to bring you the names of "The Motley Fool's Top 3 Blue Chip Stocks for 2017."

Each one pays a fully franked dividend. Each one has not only grown its profits, but has also grown its dividend. One increased it by a whopping 33%, while another trades on a grossed up (fully franked) dividend yield of almost 7%.

If you're expecting to see the likes of Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and Wesfarmers shares on this list, you'll be sorely disappointed. Not only are their dividends growing at a snail's pace, their profits are under pressure too due to the increasing competitive environment.

The contrast to these "new breed" blue chips couldn't be greater... especially the very real prospect of significant share price gains, something that's looking less likely from the usual blue chip suspects.

The names of these Top 3 ASX Blue Chips are included in this specially prepared free report. But you will have to hurry. Depending on demand - and how quickly the share prices of these companies moves - we may be forced to remove this report.

Click here to claim your free report.

Of the companies mentioned above, Bruce Jackson has an interest in Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway and Pro Medicus.

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