Tech stocks have been investors’ darlings this year despite the coronavirus outbreak. In fact, social distancing norms enacted globally to mitigate the spread of the virus compelled people to stay at home, binge online and work as well as learn from home. This new lifestyle has boosted various corners of the technology sector, ranging from enterprise cloud computing, cyber security, remote communications, video gaming and e-commerce to online payments.
Sailing hasn’t been all that smooth for the tech sector so far as it also hit some rough waters in between. President Donald Trump’s forewarning of a temporary suspension of immigration due to virus spread dealt a blow to the tech stocks in mid-April. The U.S. tech sector is heavily reliant on immigrants.
Some corners of the technology industry – cloud computing, internet and video gaming – are already benefiting from the stay-at-home trends. But those corners that were the social-distancing victims may also turn around with the full reopening of economies.
Widening the presence and stepping beyond the core operation has become the big tech companies’ mantra in recent times. In a bid to be part of the hot video-gaming industry (which has seen immense growth amid lockdowns), Facebook too launched its first game streaming app, Facebook Gaming, on Apr 21. Such initiatives will pay off in the medium term.
Tech earnings are likely to grow 2.8% in Q1 of 2020 on 6.2% higher revenues. This is in contrast to a 12.5% slump in S&P 500 earnings on 2.1% increase in revenues. The technology sector is among the very few outperformers in the otherwise-downbeat earnings trends.
Tech companies are cash-rich. As of fourth-quarter 2019, cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities was around $452.5 billion. Microsoft was the most cash-rich company globally, with about $134 billion in cash balance. Tech sector’s debt profile is also impressive. Debt/equity ratio of the sector is 0.15x versus 0.72x of the S&P 500-based ETF IVV (read: “Cash is King:” Buy These Tech ETFs to Beat Coronavirus).
Against this backdrop, we highlight a few tech ETFs that are still away from their 52-week highs despite the recent rally. This shows these ETFs have more room to run. Though the sector has a higher forward P/E (22.53x) than the S&P 500 (19.01x), more upside is indicated on strong fundamentals. Moreover, the below-mentioned ETFs come from areas that are likely to do well with or without coronavirus (see all Technology ETFs here).