I'm starting to think that technology stocks are at a breaking point. A few more sessions of significant losses and you have to wonder when tech stocks will be back in the black.
You can't really blame the bad news on anything tech companies are doing -- unfortunately, it's the "wrong place at the wrong time" scenario. With the economy fighting off credit, dollar and rising energy price issues, technology companies are among the hardest hit right out of the gate.
All of the negative growth economic issues hurt technology businesses. As consumers and corporations reduce spending, one of the first places they start are on things like new computers, printers, new software and servers -- the bread-and-butter of the technology industry.
Richard Parower, a managing director at J. & W. Seligman who heads its Global Technology Fund, says investors are finally realizing that U.S. corporate demand is weakening.
“Tech had held up a lot better up till this point,” Parower told Dow Jones.
Emotion -- most of it played out in shades of anger and frustration -- plays a big role, too. P. Brett Hammond, chief investment strategist at the fund manager TIAA-CREF, told The Wall Street Journal that "investors could continue the sell-off just because they are in a bad mood."
For the beginning of the trading week, stalwarts like Apple, Google and Microsoft fell off significantly. IBM and Ebay did somewhat better, although their stock performance was nothing to write home about. I thought that the surprising news from Wal-Mart, which landed big profits for the last quarter, would help the computer companies this week, but no such luck.
Technology companies are also beginning to report lousy earnings for the last quarter. Both Cisco and E-Trade, which saw it's stock value slice in half, are issuing dour quarterly forecasts. Even the maker of my favorite product -- the Blackberry (made by Research in Motion) saw its stock take a beating.
The only big-name stocks showing any hope are Cognos, which saw its stock on the rise after IBM said it would buy the company, and Priceline.com, which evidently is selling a lot of travel packages outside the U.S. to distressed investors. Priceline saw its profits double from the third quarter of last year.
Look, everything on Wall Street is fluid and even temporary. But I'd wait to 2008 to revisit the tech sector. Better to load up on emerging markets like China or Australia or keep your power dry and your investments in bonds or cash until the bleeding stops.
Whenever that will be.