Think Tech is a Safe Haven? Think Again

Includes: AABA, AAPL, BB
by: TraderMark

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Back in the fall and early winter when the same 4-6 stocks made new highs each week (I called them the 'teflon stocks') the media coverage purported yet another myth - tech is a safe haven for the coming slowdown. Another laughable (if not dangerous) theory to one's portfolio. First, as I have said in the past, technology is not a monolith, just like "energy" is not a monolith (ask ethanol stock owners, ask natural gas drillers, etc).

Second, consumer slowdown will affect business - and technology companies catering to businesses. But as these very narrow leadership stocks gathered more and more assets it was simply a case of everyone running out of ideas to invest in, and the same stocks getting more money. This was a problem with the whole market most of the fall, even during the best of times (October) and something I remember complaining about. Very little to invest in out there, and everyone is flooding into the same names. And those who were not in those names were basically already in a bear market.

Bespoke Blog has a great table pointing out the fallacy of this argument about technology as a safe haven. It shows all 71 technology stocks in the S&P 500. All 71 are below a key technical trend line; the 50 day moving average. That's a bear market in a sector if I ever saw one. Only 1 stock was up (as of earlier this week) for 2008 out of the 71 stocks... Yahoo (YHOO) and that's only due to a buyout rumor. Another bear market in a sector.

This is yet another case of why you should ignore the babbling on most financial media outlets (and hey maybe even my babbling!) and think on your own. I've been saying outside of consumer gadgets (video games, Apple products, Research in Motion products) and some portions of networking the rest of "technology" is highly cyclical and not secular at all. Hence I don't see how it is a safe haven at all, when it is so tied to corporate spending which eventually ties back to the greater economy. While foreign purchases will offset weakness in US (and next W Europe) for a while, that won't last forever either.

This sector is oversold, and due for a bounce - but really you could apply that saying to everything outside of gold, silver, healthcare, utilities and airlines (airlines!). But the complete and utter disaster that is technology with no relative strength, even in the best names is yet another worrisome sign for the mid term...