BlackRock and Tech Investing

Money flows when Profit grow. That is how money flows into investments.  This is fueling wireless technology and Artificial Intelligence. There are real questions around the IT industry, the big data gathering, the compliance based access, the control exercised through technologies, the excessive surveillance, the roll out of smart cities – sensors, cameras in lights, smart TV’s, smart meters, smart investments, smart nations and so on.  It is all about no data being lost and increasingly intrusive technologies that profile, track, personalise and identify people.  It is akin to a police state.  Moreover, the AI side of the equation is machine learning to the point of replacing human beings and the possibility of exceeding humans if they evolve.  The tech companies want electric cars, tracking vehicles, autonomous vehicles, drones, heat sensors on satellites and much of this coming from defence applications.  They are also working in tandom with intelligence and defence and then the roll out of 5G which is being touted as dangerous and causing serious health risks, inclusive of cancer.  Thus externalities are likely to arise (toxic consequences) however if we look at Gross Domestic Profit it all looks good on the balance sheet as it records “good” and “bad” equally.  The market doesn’t care it is just a capital making design. That is why it is called capitalism.  Democracy doesn’t exist if the people have no say.

This is the real disruption (imbalance) to natural earth systems and human society as it doesn’t meet real needs or focus on social wellbeing.  Many will scoff at that but they are unaware the interconnection of human society and how it interacts with natural systems on the basis of corporate influence and equity.  To-date it is evident it is ignoring natural ecological crisis and pending economic collapse (which could be deliberae).  Some bankers make their fortunes from collapse or human misery.

How to approach tech investing?

How to approach tech investing?

Tech disruption is all the rage. What does it mean for investors interested in the tech sector? Richard shares his thoughts.

Tech stocks have been on a tear this year. The rally may have legs, we believe. Disruptive innovations have long been driving tech companies’ performance, and are likely to continue to provide support. Yet tectonic shifts in technology are creating uneven benefits within the sector – and beyond. We advocate a selective approach to tech investing.

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Disruptive innovations have fueled strong demand for tech companies’ products and services–underpinning the sector’s sustained out-performance. We compare some key metrics in tech stocks versus the broader global market: Tech companies have posted higher profit margins and stronger sales growth over the past five years, with vastly lower corporate leverage. Yet they trade on average at only a modest valuation premium. See the chart above. More tech disruptions are on the way, powered by fifth generation (5G) wireless technology and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies are still in their early days, but the race among companies across industries to tap their potential should underpin future tech revenues and earnings. We see current valuations as fair on average. The sector is trading at a modest 5% premium to its five-year average, measured by forward price-to-earnings ratios – well below the 20% premium seen in June 2017.

Read more in our Weekly commentary

5G, AI and beyond

High-speed 5G mobile technology is a step-change from the previous four generations. Greater bandwidths and faster Internet speeds are just the start. The key attributes of 5G–massive data capacity and ultra-fast speeds–could empower and accelerate the application of AI across industries, enabling advances in areas from driver-less cars to smart cities and tele-medicine. 5G trials have started, but wider deployment is unlikely until the early 2020s. Wireless carriers looking to gain a first-mover advantage are already deploying the pricey infrastructure backbone, to achieve a boost to existing 4G offerings while setting up to transition to 5G.

Semiconductor suppliers are potential early winners from this ongoing shift. They are set to benefit from a significant increase in demand for the data and infrastructure required to handle the network traffic. Fiber and testing companies also stand to benefit as 5G infrastructure is built out and new 5G applications are tested. The implications of tech innovation go beyond the narrowly defined tech sector. Think of the potential for autonomous and electric vehicles to disrupt the auto sector and related supply chains over time. Self-driving vehicles combined with greater prevalence of ride sharing could translate to fewer cars on the road. Such a scenario could also hurt the value of businesses such as parking infrastructure.

Within tech, we like semiconductor firms, thanks to a potential earnings turnaround this quarter. We prefer exposure to both U.S. and Chinese tech. The two countries are ramping up efforts to be the first to deploy 5G and set global standards, as part of their competition for global technological leadership. The tech sector faces its share of risks. A downturn in economic activity could temporarily hurt demand for technology products. Data privacy rules and anti-trust measures pose risks to popular tech companies that are now in the communication and consumer sectors. And we are mindful of crowded positioning as investors chase scarce areas of growth.

Bottom line

We do not expect the strong first-quarter performance of tech shares to be sustained, but see selected opportunities in the sector as disruptive innovations create growth opportunities.

Richard Turnill is BlackRock’s global chief investment strategist. He is a regular contributor to The Blog.

Mohandas Gandhi

“Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.”

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