Technology stocks have had a few too many bumpy days lately. And it doesn't look like that's going to end anytime soon.
Market expectations of a quick-
Federal Reserve-led recovery in the economy have receded, and some money managers don't see technology stocks recovering for many months to come.
That's bad news for investors and the
Nasdaq. The tech heavy index closed out today at 2318.5, its lowest level since Jan. 2, when it finished at 2291.86. Investors don't believe the Nasdaq will make a significant recovery until it hits new lows, forming that elusive "bottom" they've been searching for in the last several months.
Even technical analysis of the market, which analysts sometimes use to determine whether positive signs are emerging that would indicate the market is going to move higher, isn't assuaging worries. Bellwether stocks are hitting new 52-week lows on a daily basis. That shows continued pessimism, signaling that investors still don't see value despite the massive correction in a host of tech names.
continue to slide even after big selloffs. Even when the Nasdaq surged in January, these stocks underperformed. Since they're viewed as leadership stocks that help direct all of tech investing, their lack of a rebound shows some that investors haven't finished selling.
Cisco's recent history, for example, shows a stock that has had difficultly maintaining what investors refer to as a support level -- a spot where buyers are generally expected to come in and buy the stock. That level was $30. Not anymore.
The conclusion: More damage is likely in the market before they reach a valuation attractive enough to inspire investors to buy more consistently.
Gary Kaltbaum, technical analyst at
First Union Securities Financial Network
, says that because the Nasdaq is in a long-term bear market, the technical damage has been horrible. "You're going to get these rallies, and they look good and feel good, and several days later they kill you," says Kaltbaum. "On a technical basis, when you're down 50 percent to 60 percent, with some influential stocks, you've got to spend time with the recovery. It's like an injury. The worse the injury, the longer it takes to heal."
And these stocks haven't yet had enough time to recover. Technicians like to see stocks bounce around near their lows for about three to four months. It shows that selling has dissipated because investors' opinion of a stock is no longer deteriorating.
But, like a scab, negative factors continue to pick at the injured. Last week, three blue chips --
-- issued weak earnings projections for coming quarters. The most recent selloff that followed shows that a bottom hasn't been formed yet for many blue-chip tech stocks. It proves that January's rally was merely a tease.
"We're still trying to find where the valuation has really gotten too depressed, and when they're supposed to respond better, even if there's more bad news coming out of the company," said John Maack, director of equities at
An excess of optimism was responsible for the swoon in 2000, but throughout there was a sense from many investors that some kind of correction was needed. But now that valuations aren't quite as excessive, investors are waiting for that inevitable bounce back. It hasn't happened yet. And it's been quite a setback to the market, which seemed to expect that the worst was over and is now finding that it's not.