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warning makes a simple truth crashingly real for many investors: U.S. technology companies' foreign exposure is as vast as it has ever been.
Generally, this is not a bad thing. If you want to keep your company growing, you've got to spread your wings beyond the narrow confines of the domestic market. The U.S. is the undisputed world leader in technology, and that in large part has been responsible for the near viral growth in tech profits and share prices.
"The U.S. has built up a technological advantage, and no other country has tried to catch up," says
strategist Tom Van Leuven. "As a result, a significant portion of revenues for many tech companies comes from overseas."
quantitative strategy group has put together a list of the top 50 companies in the
by foreign exposure, and the biggest group on it by far, representing 42% of it, is tech.
recently compiled a list of the 100 companies with the highest exposure to Europe. The biggest group again, weighing in at 28 companies, was tech.
Many tech companies charge for their products in dollars, so recently there has been talk about how
, for example, doesn't get hurt by the beleaguered euro. Intel's warning gives the lie to this, however: A weaker euro may mean that European companies simply cannot buy as much product. Moreover, the high price of oil is affecting growth worldwide. J.P. Morgan's economists recently figured that the high price of oil has already taken 1% out of household income in the developed world.
This may not necessarily hurt tech. For many companies, the productivity improvement that tech offers is something they can't afford not to own. But for now, it appears that investors, like Clint Eastwood in
The Eiger Sanction
, have decided that, not knowing which companies to punish, they will punish them all.
and JDS Uniphase were lately off sharply. As was Intel -- down $12.50 to $49.03 on