Over the course of the previous week, an enormous downturn was evident across the spectrum of tech stocks. The Top 25 Nasdaq-100 constituent stocks’ momentum largely flashed red:
The one bright spot was MercadoLibre with a very strong showing while Apple, Broadcom and Adobe effectively treaded water.
Meanwhile, the small-cap Russell 2000 was a mixed bag that – on balance – was a little less red:
Used-car dealership Carvana, a handful of medtech/biotech stocks – chiefly BridgeBio and Inozyne – and financial firms such as United Insurance and consumer lending platform Upstart – helped carry the week.
Giants and small caps aside, an all-important barometer for the American economy’s forward outlook is the S&P 500. Here too, the past week has been somewhat mixed:
Tesla, Advanced Micro Devices and Nvidia – stocks that are important constituents of America’s « Magnificent Seven » – had seen the most substantial impact on their momentum in quite some time.
The emerging fact pattern lends support to the notion that an attempt at sector rotation is in motion.
A Breakdown: Weighted vs Equal, Tech vs Ex-Tech
« Tech » has been steadily enveloping the growth story in American bourses for over two decades now. One means of separating and analyzing the effect of pronounced tech stock valuations on broad index/ETF performance lies in considering SPX versus the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index (SPXEW); the latter essentially « flattens » the effects of market capitalization to only consider momentum of all constituent stocks in unison.
In net performance from January 2007, i.e. just before the Global Financial Crisis (or “GFC”) till the 25th of July, both indices had delivered over 300% in returns, with the Equally-Weighted Index marginally leading by 3%.
The performance graph is highly suggestive of the notion that tech overvaluation and its contributory performance only came to the forefront in the final week of March 2020. However, it bears noting that while the Equally-Weighted Index leads in this broad window, there is some strength to the notion that pronounced valuation exists in tech: from the “market bottom” of March 24, 2020 till the present, the S&P 500 is up 17.4% while the Equally-Weighted Index is up 12%. This 5.4% « spread » is no small matter.
Going by calendar year across the broad window, it is evident that the relative overvaluation has seldom been a sustained cushion. Outside of 2008, the « spread » has an average of 3.33% and a median of 3.44% across complete calendar years.
Throughout the broad window, the YTD spread is second only to that seen in 2009 wherein the Equally-Weighted Index prevailed over the market cap-weighted index. This adds context to the cooling of momentum in the « Magnificent Seven » in particular and tech in general: it is absolutely in keeping with trends seen in the past.
Next: to consider the relative effect of tech overvaluation on the broad index, lets consider the performance of the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Technology ETF (RSPT) versus that of the ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF (SPXT) which doesn’t track an equally-weighted index but does exclude tech constituents.
Note: Effective on June 6, 2023 the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Technology ETF’s ticker changed from RYT to RSPT. No other changes were made.
An early lead in SPXT’s lead in performance during the decline of Q3 2022 (which meant that it did better than its tech opponent) was largely erased in the burgeoning appetite for tech that has been in play since Q4 2022. However, it bears noting that the “ex-tech” has shown far less volatility than the « tech ».
An overview of the month-wise performance of the two instruments reveals that despite being equally-weighted, the « tech » instrument has generally outperformed the market cap-weighted « ex-tech » instrument. However, the spread in performance is trending towards a decline which is empirically neither novel nor unexpected.
In fact, in the month till date (MTD), the spread is trending towards settling close to the 1-2% range by the end of the month. This is another sign of tech overvaluation cooling off: the average of month-wise spreads in the past one year is 2.66% while the median is 1.88%.
In a market which has witnessed a gentle rise in retail investor volumes and optimism, institutional investors have continued to reign supreme – albeit with guarded tones. For the first time since July 2020, traded volumes of the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP) – which tracks the SPXEW – had seen a surge well in excess of that in SPY in Q2 of this year.
In absolute terms, however, SPY typically sees volumes that are 15-20X that of RSP. In the current month, both have plunged.
Three factors that will likely clash over the next few days. The first: a slew of upcoming earnings releases in both « tech » and « ex-tech ». Across the board, they can be expected to be « so-so »: overall positive but no massive standouts. In the past five years, even a « so-so” release would have triggered a strong rally manifesting for a quarter or even longer, given the large variety of players. In the present day, there are fewer players and they’re largely either « institutional » or « professional ». However, of the entire gamut of sectors, « tech » has tended to attract higher conviction from the clients of said « institutionals ».
The second factor is that sector rotation is both desirable and natural, thereby making it expectable. The affordability crisis is by no means over: easing of monthly CPI or not, the accrued elevation of costs for the average American consumer ensures that any over-optimistic forward outlook in any company with a broad consumer base would be (and should be) questionable.
The third factor is the relatively shallowness of the investor pool. Even a relatively smaller lot of trades are manifesting as a rally in intraday sessions with an inevitable correction either later on in the day or week. Simply put: while the market is looking upwards, there isn’t a whole lot of support for an overly-high jump.
Overall, there is a lot of potential for finding a slew of decently-priced securities outside of « tech » while Big Tech can be expected to continue to slide in valuation over the course of this quarter. What will confound this would be momentary spikes sparked by modest buy-ins in a shallow market.
For professional investors with a flair for tactical trading, there are a couple of Exchange-Traded Products (ETPs) to consider: SP5Y gives leveraged exposure to the upside of the S&P 500 while SPYS does the same on the downside. Similarly, QQQ5 gives leveraged exposure to the upside of the Nasdaq-100 while QQ3S does the same on the downside.
Violeta a rejoint Leverage Shares en septembre 2022. Elle est chargée de mener des analyses techniques et des recherches sur les actions et macroéconomiques, fournissant des informations importantes pour aider à façonner les stratégies d’investissement des clients.
Avant de rejoindre LS, Violeta a travaillé dans plusieurs sociétés d’investissement de premier plan en Australie, telles que Tollhurst et Morgans Financial, où elle a passé les 12 dernières années de sa carrière.
Violeta est une technicienne de marché certifiée de l’Australian Technical Analysts Association et est titulaire d’un diplôme d’études supérieures en finance appliquée et investissement de Kaplan Professional (FINSIA), Australie, où elle a été conférencière pendant plusieurs années.
Julian a étudié l’économie, la psychologie, la sociologie, la politique européenne et la linguistique. Il possède de l’expérience en matière de développement commercial et de marketing grâce à des entreprises qu’il a lui-même créées.
Pour Julian, Leverage Shares est une entreprise innovante dans le domaine de la finance et de la fintech, et il se réjouit toujours de partager les prochaines grandes avancées avec les investisseurs du Royaume-Uni et d’Europe.
Oktay a rejoint Leverage Shares fin 2019. Il est responsable de la croissance de l’activité à travers des relations clés et le développement de l’activité commerciale sur les marchés anglophones.
Il a rejoint LS après UniCredit, où il était responsable des relations avec les entreprises pour les multinationales. Il a également travaillé au sein de sociétés telles qu’IBM Bulgarie et DeGiro / FundShare dans le domaine de la finance d’entreprise et de l’administration de fonds.
Oktay est titulaire d’une licence en finance et comptabilité et d’un certificat d’études supérieures en entrepreneuriat du Babson College. Il est également détenteur de la certification CFA.
Sandeep a une longue expérience des marchés financiers. Il a débuté sa carrière en tant qu’ingénieur financier au sein d’un hedge fund basé à Chicago. Pendant huit ans, il a travaillé dans différents domaines et organisations, de la division Prime Services de Barclays Capital à l’équipe de recherche sur les indices du Nasdaq (plus récemment).
Sandeep est titulaire d’un master spécialisé en finance et d’un master en administration des affaires de I’Institut de technologie de Chicago.