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Why tech stocks are surging back this week

March 9, 2021, 11:42 PM UTC
Updated March 9, 2021, 11:45 PM UTC

Tech investors had a rough go of it in recent days, but the bulls are back.

On Tuesday tech stocks soared off their recent lows, with the Nasdaq closing up 3.7% after retreating into correction territory on Monday. Names of the biggest tech stocks like Tesla, Apple, and pandemic-favorite Zoom, jumped 20%, 4%, and 10% respectively. Treasuries, meanwhile, have slumped slightly, with the 10-year settling at around 1.5% on Tuesday.

According to Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance, “What you saw with tech stocks was both reacting to the interest rates … coming back down a little bit, as well as the fact that I think tech was a little bit oversold,” he tells Fortune. “I think the baby is kind of getting thrown out with the bathwater with the sector rotation” out of tech and into areas like energy, he adds. 

Meanwhile, with continuously-improving economic data, Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest, argues “Today’s action shows the recent drop has been more about profit-taking in popular sectors than serious concern about the economic outlook,” she told Fortune via email.

That seems to have prompted some buying-the-dip. One look at equity flows from Bank of America’s clients and the rebound isn’t much of a surprise: According to a BofA report on Tuesday, “everyone bought the tech rout.”

For BofA’s clients, “Last week’s big net buying was concentrated in Tech, which saw another near-record weekly inflow ($2.6 billion, the highest in over seven years). As a result, four-week average Tech flows have hit a record high,” strategists at the bank wrote.

‘Grinding higher’?

The massive recovery in tech on Tuesday comes after a week of anxiety for growth stocks, as the 10-year Treasury yield spiked above 1.6% in recent days and many investors leaned into the rotation trade—boosting cyclical sectors like energy, financials, and industrials in the past month.

Indeed, some on the Street have called for investors to take the recent market moves as a sign to reorient their portfolio. “You need a new playbook,” Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s chief investment officer Lisa Shalett recently told Fortune. Her thinking is that we’ve now entered a new business cycle, and that “when you have a new business cycle, you get sector rotation.” She said she is looking at areas like the digitization of services, housing, automation, robotics, and semiconductors.

Additionally, if inflation fears and the 10-year yield were to once again pop up, that could put tech back in the hot seat, notes Ally’s Bell.

But others like Zaccarelli believe the sector is destined to maintain an upward, if perhaps less aggressive, trajectory. He says he’d be buying the dip on some of the better large cap tech names (and avoiding more speculative and mid-and-small-cap tech), arguing that moving forward, “it’s going to be choppy, it’s not going to go in a straight direction, but I’d expect tech, over the course of the year, to continue to move higher—kind of chugging along, grinding higher, whereas I think you’ll still see cyclical sectors come to life.”

The prediction of tech moving higher off of this correction has some historical precedent: Despite the quick selloff in tech in recent weeks, on average the Nasdaq was up 23.6% six months after a rapid correction, LPL’s Ryan Detrick pointed out on Twitter on Tuesday.

Moving forward, with some $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus about to flood into the economy, some strategists expect that alongside the economic rebound, the success of more cyclical names should likely continue.

That’s why Bell and Zaccarelli believe that while tech remains an “attractive” sector, there may be better areas to look in the near term for relative performance.

Adds Zaccarelli: “I would consider technology more of a hold, and I would think some of those more cyclical sectors remain a buy.”