Now is the time to invest in long-term tech themes: Money manager
Technology stocks have seen solid gains since tumbling to a 15-month low late last month, but investors aren’t convinced that low represents a bottom for the sector, which has been volatile amid questions over growth and valuation.
The S&P 500 information technology index is up 10 per cent since the close of trading on Dec. 24, when it ended at its lowest since September 2017.
Among notable gainers over the same period, Nvidia Corp. has risen 17 per cent, Advanced Micro Devices has climbed 22 per cent and Oracle Corp. is up 13 per cent. The moves have been even more sizable when it comes to some of the market’s most closely watched Internet stocks. Netflix Inc. is up more than 40 per cent over that period, while Amazon.com Inc. has rallied 22 per cent and Facebook Inc. has risen 16 per cent. All of these, however, remain decisively below record levels.
“People were shocked at how bad fourth-quarter performance was in tech. We saw a lot of panic selling that I think was based on how quickly the stocks were going down, as opposed to fundamentals getting worse,” said Walter Price, senior portfolio manager at Allianz Global Investors, who oversees the US$1.4 billion AllianzGI Technology Fund.
“I’m hopeful that panic low will hold, but it’s a little early to know,” he told Bloomberg in a phone interview. “The signs are encouraging, but it really depends on whether we see a trade deal with China. That’s a big unknown, as China is a significant source of either demand or supply for tech companies, as we saw with Apple.”
In a notable exception to the broad uptrend, Apple Inc. is up just 3.5 per cent since Dec. 24, pressured after it cut its revenue outlook for the first time in almost two decades, citing weak iPhone demand in China.
The outlook underlined the risks that continue to be seen around the sector, which remains more than 16 per cent below record levels.
The partial recovery in prices has not been matched by a rebound in sentiment. According to Bloomberg data, exchange-traded funds that track the technology sector have generally seen outflows even as the stocks have risen. More than US$2 billion was pulled from the category in the week ended Dec. 28, followed by an additional US$1.4 billion in outflows the subsequent week. Roughly US$1.1 billion has been redeemed from tech-sector ETFs thus far in January.
According to BofAML’s most recent “Flow Show” report, “few are bullish tech & financials,” even with the rebound in prices.
Since Jan. 3, when the firm’s “Bull & Bear Indicator” indicated a buy signal for stocks, investors bought US$6.2 billion worth of equity funds. However, they sold US$600 million of tech funds over the same period.