The technology sector led by three mega cap giants is likely to send the broader market to new highs in 2018, CNBC reports. Those three stocks are Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), and Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), Rich Ross, head of technical analysis at Evercore ISI, told CNBC.
"The calendar has changed, but the game remains the same. The name of the game is to buy big-cap technology," Ross said.
To be sure, tech stocks already have posted extraordinary gains. The S&P 500 Information Technology Index is up 41% for the year ending January 5, per S&P Dow Jones Indices. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index (NDX) gained 34% during the same period. The trailing twelve months P/E ratio on the Nasdaq 100 was 27, a rich number by most standards, as of January 5, per calculations by Birinyi Associates reported by The Wall Street Journal. Still, many investors see plenty of upside. "Fundamentally, earnings growth is very strong and the multiples are not massively stretched," in the opinion of Ben Barringer, an analyst at U.K.-based investment management firm Quilter Cheviot Ltd, in comments to Bloomberg.
Nvidia's 'Explosive Breakout'
That's exactly what Ross said he sees for shares of Nvidia and Apple, per CNBC's January 4 story. Let's start with advanced chipmaker Nvidia. After a recent major pullback, Ross indicated to CNBC that Nvidia had "tested and held key support [above the 100-day moving average]." He also noted that Nvidia had advanced beyond its 50-day moving average. "This has set up Nvidia up for a breakout to a new high here...$250 with potential upside to $300 over time," he added. Nvidia has gained 115% over the year ending January 5, and has a P/E ratio of 56, according to the latest data reported by CNBC. In fact, Nvidia appeared to break out on Monday as Ross predicted, opening trading at $220.40.
Amazon's Bull Flag
In the case of Amazon, Ross sees what he calls a bull flag continuation pattern with the online merchandising and cloud computing giant, per CNBC. After a sharp upward burst in late October, Amazon's shares have moved gently upward thereafter, gaining strength as Amazon's e-commerce operations dominated a strong U.S. holiday shopping season. As Ross reads the charts, he expects the stock go as high as $1,400. Amazon is up 57% over the past year, and sports a hefty P/E ratio of 315. Its shares opened Monday at $1,236.00.
Apple's Golden Apple
With computer and smartphone maker Apple, Ross also sees strong support and a bull flag pattern of its own, in his comments on CNBC. On a fundamental basis, he anticipates a strong earnings report to come out in the first week of February, which will propel the share price to $195 or $200, sending Apple's market cap beyond the $1 trillion level.
According to data from FactSet Research Systems cited by CNBC, the consensus of analysts is that Apple will post EPS of $3.78 for the most recent quarter. By comparison, its EPS for the most recently-reported twelve months is $9.21, per CNBC's stock quote pages. Shares of Apple have advanced 48% over the past year, and have a trailing P/E of 19, modest by tech sector standards. Apple opened trading Monday at $174.35.
A Skeptic's View
Nick Ford, a fund manager at U.K.-based Miton Group PLC, is more cautious about Apple though he believes that tech stocks should have another good year in 2018. He told Bloomberg that he has concerns about Apple in particular. The key risk, he says, is its large supply chain. Ford finds "little room for error on iPhone X sales," and disappointing results for that new, high-profile product "could upset sentiment on the sector," he told Bloomberg.