Outsized returns delivered by America's leading technology companies over the past decade have turned them into Wall Street darlings. As the bull market comes to an end, sending shares of tech titans on a downward spiral and dragging the market down with them, analysts have been reluctant to change their upbeat forecasts.
While investors sell off shares of FAANG stocks, knocking about $100 billion from Facebook Inc.'s (FB) market capitalization in the recent weeks, analysts continue to cite big tech’s earnings outlook and dominance across sectors from retail to social media, as outlined in a story published by The Wall Street Journal on March 30.
The NYSE FANG+ Index, which tracks the shares of 10 global tech giants, dropped 2.3% last week after a 5.6% decline on Tuesday, which marked its largest one-day loss since September 2014. Yet as of the end of the week's trading, 91% of analysts had a buy or overweight rating on FB, a jump from an average of 89% in February. As for Amazon, 96% of 46 analysts had the equivalent of a buy rating for the stock, up from an average of 94% in February.
Overlooking Mounting Investor Concerns
The Nasdaq Composite Index has sank 0.7% year-to-date (YTD), while the broader S&P 500 has declined 3.9%. Meanwhile, technology companies in the S&P 500 are expected to post 22% earnings growth in the first quarter from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet. While the Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund posted its worst monthly performance since April 2016 in March, it still managed to raked in $570.5 million for the month. (See also: 5 Reasons Facebook Is a Bargain.)
Analysts' optimism stands against a handful of negative headwinds for big tech, while stocks continue to trade at high multiples late in the bull market. Bears point to the massive overcrowding of the top five tech plays, which could crush investors in a downturn. The global platforms could also suffer slowed growth on regulatory backlash from governments around the world. Meanwhile, competitors such as Snap Inc. (SNAP) and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) should view weakness as a prime opportunity to grab market share. Last week, shares of e-commerce and cloud computing giant Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) sank on news that President Donald Trump has it out big time for the company and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.
Analysts are sticking to their guns. "If big tech can show the growth, investors will forgive it all," said INTL FCStone global macro strategist Vincent Deluard. (See also: GOOGL, FB Overdue for Govt. Oversight: Jim Mellon.)