U.S. tech stocks are poised to extended gains past their dot-com era peak Thursday just as the world's biggest fund managers are starting to pare back holdings in the hottest trade of the year.
The tech-focused Nasdaq index is expected to rise past Wednesday's record close of 6385.04 points at the opening bell, according to U.S. futures prices, after the broadest measure of sector shares, the S&P 500 Information Technology subindex, topped its March 2000 high to end the session at a fresh record of 992.29 points. The IT index has outperformed all of the S&P's subsets so far this year with a 23% gain driven by Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI) , Adobe Systems (ADBE) , Red Hat (RHT) , Micron Technology and Pay Pal Inc. (PYPL)
The IT index gains, however followed data from a well-watched survey of global fund managers published each month by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which indicated that 38% of the investors polled -- who control more than $580 billion in global assets -- said "long Nasdaq" was the most crowded trade in the market for the third consecutive month.
In fact, the survey revealed that 68% of respondents said U.S. and global internet socks were "expensive" as investors rolled out of the sector into Japanese equities, healthcare stocks and commodities. The global allocation for tech stocks fell to a net 28% from a net 38% in June, the survey said. That said, tech remains the second-most significant sector overweight, the survey revealed, behind bank stocks but just ahead of pharmaceuticals.