There has been a lot of momentum flowing against tech stocks right now, and especially the FAANGs. Facebook has taken a great deal of the pain, with numerous headwinds facing shares. However, the reality is that the company has a very solid underlying business, and the recent volatility means it also has an attractive valuation. According to Deutsche Bank, “We continue to view Facebook as the best risk/reward in large cap internet given the potential for core Facebook engagement to stabilize … and given the extremely attractive current valuation”.
FINSUM: Facebook has been going through a very rough period over the last year, but the negative news cycle is going to abate, and when it does, the stock seems likely to gain.
Amidst all the gloom gripping the markets, there have been a handful of positive publications about 2019. One of them was just put out by Nomura. The bank published a list of 5 tech stocks that might surge in 2019. The call is an ambitious one given the trend of how tech shares have been going. The shares are not all FAANGs either, which makes them more interesting. With further ado, the list is: Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Broadcom, and AT&T.
FINSUM: Amazon seems like a good call to us, especially after its recent declines. The company is going to see increasing margins as it consolidates its dominant position and earns more recurring revenue. Salesforce is also an interesting business.
Markets are having a very rough day. Both the S&P500 and the Dow are down almost 3%. Financials have been leading losses. The selloff appears to be centered on fears over the fragility of the US-China trade “truce”. Treasury bonds have been rallying, leading to selloffs in tech and banks. The Treasury curve started to invert yesterday, which also seems to have spooked investors.
FINSUM: What a difference a day makes! Just yesterday it seemed like stocks might be lined up for a nice end of year run. A day later, the trade trace has created more tension than before and the yield curve is starting to invert.
One of the pillars of this nearly decade-long bull market has been the growing profits of US corporations. US stocks have seen their profit margins rise steadily since 2009 and are around a record mark of 10%. Analysts continue to forecast growth to around 12% in 2020. At the beginning of the 1990s, margins were just half of now. However, this narrative is fraught as just 10 stocks account for around 50% of all the margin growth in the S&P 500 since 2009. Those stocks? All tech, unsurprisingly. But what it means is that many other companies are not as healthy as many assumed, and as we enter a tougher era for margins, including higher labor costs, increased input costs, and higher interest costs, there could be some steep falls.
FINSUM: We think this is a reason to worry, as when margins really start to fall on the back of higher rates and costs, investors are going to be very alarmed.
Something interesting has been happening for value stock investors lately—value stocks have been outperforming. Value investing as a discipline has been suffering for at least a decade as growth stocks won out. The malaise has been so poor that many have given up on the philosophy altogether. So with the recent turnaround, should that be reconsidered? Barron’s says the answer is a firm “no”. The recent outperformance of value may just be an aberration related to movements in particular sectors. The reality is that most value indexes have little exposure to the sectors that are suffering, like tech and consumer discretionary. Therefore, their outperformance is more a coincidence than a turn in the market.
FINSUM: We’d have to agree with this view. It does not seem like there has been some fundamental change in investors’ thinking, more that anxiety has just struck the most growth-oriented sectors.