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After a decade of outperformance, investors are finally switching out of technology stocks.
For the fourth straight week, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lagged the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is the longest such streak since April to May 2016, which was also the only year since 2011 in which the Dow defeated the Nasdaq.
Market experts have been forecasting a technical downturn for years and have consistently been wrong due to the increasing dominance of mega-cap companies such as Apple and Amazon, the frenzy over Tesla and the massive shift in spending to cloud computing.
“It has been frustrating for years to fix this trade,” said Jack Ablin, who oversees $ 12.5 billion as chief investment officer at Cresset.
Ablin said it felt different this time. Beginning in the fourth quarter, his company introduced a new “quality dividend strategy” that moved technology customers to industrial, finance, materials and energy companies. He bet on a democratic course in November, followed by a major stimulus package that would pump money into the economy and lead to inflation and higher interest rates.
President Joe Biden speaks with Vice President Kamala Harris (R) in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on March 12, 2021, about America’s bailout plan.
Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images
The 10-year Treasury rose to its highest level in over a year on Friday, hitting 1.642%. Rising interest rates give investors an incentive to shift money towards fixed income securities, while inflation tends to have an overwhelming impact on growth companies as it dampens expectations for future earnings.
Meanwhile, the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package signed by President Joe Biden Thursday will send $ 1,400 in direct payments to most Americans, expanding child tax credits, and providing rental and utility services .
Add to this Biden’s declaration that all adults are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine by May 1, and the economy is on the brink of a major recovery in 2021.
“There’s a pent-up demand for going out and doing things, going on vacation, going to bars and restaurants,” Ablin said. People will “take all the money on the sidelines and spend it,” he said.
Although Biden and the Democratic Congress are focused on expanding alternatives to green energy, the current prospects for travel and getting back to work benefit traditional oil and gas companies. Within the S&P 500, energy values performed best as a group this year with a plus of 40%. The top performing groups this week were Consumer Discretionary, Real Estate, and Utilities.
The Dow Industrials rose 4.1% over the course of the week to close at a record high of 32,778.64. After three straight weeks of decline, the Nasdaq rose 3.1% to 13,319.87. For the year, the Dow is up 7.1% while the Nasdaq is up 3.4%.
Dow versus Nasdaq in 2021
Ablin knows it’s too early for a winning lap. While technology by and large underperforms, there is still a lot of money flowing into even more speculative assets. Bitcoin’s value nearly doubled this year, and a non-fungible token (NFT) by artist Beeple sold for more than $ 69 million in auction through Christie’s on Wednesday.
Ablin said he was just asked about NFTs by a customer Thursday. While he admits he doesn’t have a strong stance on them, he said the market could look very different in the coming months if stimulus recipients choose risky investments instead of traveling and buying consumer goods.
“If it really isn’t spent but plowed into the market, that would pull the rug out of our thesis,” Ablin said. For example, he said, “If they don’t go on vacation, they buy Tesla stock.”
Tesla stock is up 16% this week. But that was after a 30% drop from the previous month.
SEE: NFTs see record prices as artists and Silicon Valley buy in