After another deadly day on the
Nasdaq Composite Index
, now down 10% since its January peak, investors might be forgiven for believing the hyperbolic headlines about the demise of tech.
But before you throw up your hands and join the messy stampede out of tech stocks, forget
a minute of your time.
Unlike Biggs, the grande dame of
whose fears about the tech sector were reported in Wednesday's
Wall Street Journal
, Landis makes his living buying tech stocks. And these days he's shopping, especially for top-tier networkers.
For the last two years, Landis has done a hell of a job picking tech. The $50 million
Interactive Investments Technology Value
TVFQX), co-managed by Landis and Ken Kam, gained 50.5% in 1995 and 60.9% in 1996.
And this year, as other highfliers like the
PBHG Tech and Communications
PBTCX) have lost 10% or more of their value amid the Nasdaq's carnage, Technology Value has done some damage control. Through last Thursday, the fund was down 2.1% for 1997, while the average tech fund was off 3.1%.
In an interview Wednesday, as the Nasdaq reached intraday lows, Landis sounded philosophical, not frazzled, about the recent carnage among networking companies, which are quickly becoming some of his favorites.
Investors are now focusing on the difficulty networking companies have in making the transition to new product lines without cannibalizing sales of their older products, Landis says. "That's an issue that never goes away. It's just a perception change."
During the summer and fall of 1996, those concerns fell to the sidelines as optimism about the sector peaked. "There was near-unanimity that this was a very healthy sector and had a very bright outlook," Landis says.
But while others have since soured, Landis says that there is reason for confidence about networkers. "Over the next five years, the amount of traffic that these networks are going to carry is going to grow explosively. The basic demand is vast and growing."
So with some networkers down 75% and continuing to fall, "every day, you can make a better and better case for the networking stocks," Landis says. He says he is starting to nibble at "no-brainer" buys and adds that he wishes he had $100 million in new cash to start snapping up shares.
Which companies are on his list? Landis plays coy, but networking leader
CSCO), which has fallen from 75 in January to 50 on Wednesday, is obviously a target.
"They are a prime suspect for being a no-brainer. I will let you know after I'm finished buying them that they are no-brainers," Landis says. His philosophy: "If they are all cheap, buy the strongest companies."
Still, Landis advises investors thinking about buying networkers not to load up too fast, since the selloff may not be finished yet. "I don't know if you want to take the other side of the trade while other people are still panicking. But when they're done panicking¿"
By Alex Berenson
Networkers' Carnage Costing Funds
. Sharp declines in highflying energy stocks and networkers have left some well-known aggressive growth funds with big losses.