Tech stocks show why they're the new safe haven

As global stockmarkets tumbled this week, high-flying tech stocks such as Apple and Amazon gained again.

US technology giants are now behaving like a defensive investment, says John Authers on Bloomberg. While global stockmarkets tanked at the start of this week, high-flying companies such as Apple and Amazon gained again.

That goes to show that the tech pullback that rattled investors earlier this month was a sign of bullishness, not bearishness, says Authers. Growing confidence about economic reopening and hope that a vaccine will deliver us from the pandemic sparked a shift into sectors such as banks that are likely to benefit. This week’s second wave fears undid that, sending them fleeing back into tech. With an “entrenched competitive position” and “relative immunity” to pandemic disruption, technology has become the equity investor’s safe-haven of choice.

This year’s tech rally has drawn comparison with the heady years of the dotcom boom, when investors piled into risky startups, sending the Nasdaq up almost 90% in less than six months. That ended when the index crashed by more than half in the year 2000. But this is no repeat of the tech bubble, Andrew Garthwaite of Credit Suisse tells Market Watch. In a bubble, price/earnings ratios usually hit somewhere between 45 and 72, but the Nasdaq is currently on a comparatively moderate rating of 37. Defenders of today’s rally also like to point out that the likes of Apple and Google are wildly profitable, unlike many dotcom-era stocks.

Yet the 1990s brought genuine productivity gains, says The Economist. The internet and computers transformed business. By contrast, all the innovation of the 2010s has delivered us only “pitiful” productivity growth. There is talk of the pandemic bringing us all closer to an economy built on “electric vehicles and blockchain”. But for the time being it remains just that: talk.

Recommended

Inheritance tax planning: using Aim shares to cut your inheritance tax bill
Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax planning: using Aim shares to cut your inheritance tax bill

If you have invested in companies listed on London’s Aim market, you can use them to reduce your inheritance tax bill, says David Prosser. Here’s how.
2 Aug 2021
Improve your odds of investment success with these three stocks
Share tips

Improve your odds of investment success with these three stocks

Professional investor Tom Wildgoose of the Nomura Global High Conviction Fund highlights three of his favourite stocks.
2 Aug 2021
Premium Bonds: a better bet for savers when interest rates are low
Savings

Premium Bonds: a better bet for savers when interest rates are low

Cash is a dull investment with interest rates near zero – but there is one way to make it more exciting without risk
2 Aug 2021
George Iacobescu: the man who transformed London
People

George Iacobescu: the man who transformed London

George Iacobescu, the man who – quite literally – put Canary Wharf on the map, is stepping back from his executive role. He will be a tough act to fol…
1 Aug 2021

Most Popular

The MoneyWeek Podcast: Asia, financial repression and the nature of capitalism
Economy

The MoneyWeek Podcast: Asia, financial repression and the nature of capitalism

Russell Napier talks to Merryn about financial repression – or "stealing money from old people slowly" – plus how Asian capitalism is taking over in t…
16 Jul 2021
Why the UK's 2.5% inflation is a big deal
Inflation

Why the UK's 2.5% inflation is a big deal

After years of inflation being a financial-assets problem, it is now an “ordinary things” problem too, says Merryn Somerset Webb. But central banks st…
16 Jul 2021
Three companies that are reaping the rewards of investment
Share tips

Three companies that are reaping the rewards of investment

Professional investor Edward Wielechowski of the Odyssean Investment Trust highlights three stocks that have have invested well – and are able to deal…
19 Jul 2021