#AceFinanceReport – June.04: The index, which heavily weights shares of technology companies, rose 0.7% Monday to about 7606, topping its March 12 record of 7588.32 and snapping its longest streak without a fresh high since 2016: The broader S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average have yet to eclipse their Jan. 26 highs #AceFinanceDesk reports
The gains mark a dramatic turnaround after investors dumped shares of everything from software makers to biotechnology firms in the spring. Technology stocks stumbled in March, hurt by blowback over Facebook Inc.’shandling of its users’ information and fears that increasing scrutiny from regulators and politicians could hurt profitability at a number of U.S. tech giants: Yet in recent months, middling economic data from the eurozone and fears of tighter trade policies have dented investors’ confidence in the global growth story that had driven stocks to records last year.
That has helped drum up fresh enthusiasm for technology companies, which many investors believe can reliably grow earnings even as the global economy looks like it could be losing momentum. The Nasdaq is up 10% for the year, with heavyweights like Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. all up double-digit percentages and setting records Monday.
In comparison, the S&P 500 has risen 2.7% this year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has advanced 0.4%.
“Investors are going back to the growth engines of their portfolios at a time when many other catalysts seem to be fading,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. “In an environment where U.S. GDP growth is a little over 2%, I’m willing to pay a small premium [for tech] for nearly double the sales growth.”
Technology firms are expected to post solid earnings growth throughout the year, something that analysts say has helped boost the sector’s allure. Earnings for S&P 500 technology companies are expected to increase by 23% in the second quarter from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet, outpacing the broader S&P 500’s estimated earnings growth rate of 19%.
The promise of strong earnings has helped investors look past issues like Facebook’s data practices and user privacy, said Dan Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust.
Another factor that has helped technology stocks rebound: bets among investors that technology firms are less likely to be hurt by ongoing negotiations over U.S. trade policies, Mr. Morgan said.
Some say investors should remain cautious, noting the potential for tighter regulations hasn’t fully dissipated.
“The interesting thing is when we look at regulation in general—it happened in the banks, financials, it happened in utilities—it seems to engulf the prominent sectors, sectors that have a defining role in everyday life,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial. “Right now they may have bought some time, but this is not an issue that is going to evaporate.”
Yet for now, many investors appear to be looking past regulation risks.
“Investors seem to be sticking to what’s worked with them—they’re going back to the growth engines of their portfolios,” Mr. Arone said.
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