Inflated technology stocks are among those worst positioned to fare the repercussions of increasingly protectionist trade policies coming from the White House, according to one team of analysts on the Street. (See also: Tech Bubble Burst Could Reach Beyond Equities: Nomura.)
Last week, President Donald Trump slapped at least $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports, fueling fears regarding an all out trade war with China as the administration threatens to dismantle other trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The high-flying tech sector, already struggling through a period of heightened volatility due to concerns over more government regulation and overall uncertainty, should face mounting pressure as its years of outperformance run out, according to JPMorgan global equity strategist Mislav Matejka, as reported by CNBC.
“We have a cautious stance on [the] tech sector, which has elaborate supply chains, is sensitive to consumer and corporate confidence, and where the adverse trade impact could be material," wrote Matejka. "This is especially after tech has had such a dramatic run already. In the past five years, Tech is up 130 percent globally … tech valuations are no longer attractive.”
'Lock the Profits In'
Trump's decision on Thursday to impose about $60 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports—what he called "the first of many"—warranted a response from Beijing on Friday indicating that it may target 128 U.S. products with an import value of $3 billion. As investors fear harsher and more broader action from the communist government, the S&P 500 sank over 2% on both days, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell into correction territory.
Information technology took a huge hit, falling 6% for the week ended Friday as leaders such as Facebook Inc. (FB), down over 13%, weighed on the sector. Investors in the "outright expensive" industry should expect no signs of relief in the near future, according to Matejka, who recommends investors "lock the profits in."
"Trump's tariffs on China are expected to target aeronautics, modern rail, new energy vehicles and high-tech products. ... Tech hardware and machinery are among the largest U.S. import categories, and, in our view, are at risk," wrote JPMorgan. (See also: Why The Stock Market Exodus Has Only Begun.)