NEW YORK (The Street) -- The global volatility of stock markets has rattled tech investors just like everyone else. But what does this really mean when both the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 reached near historical highs, during what's been a bull market for years?
Depending upon whom you ask, tech may be poised to bounce back faster than other sectors, thanks to strong business models.
"Tech is both a bellwether and a darling of the stock market as well as society in general," said Mark Mullen, the Managing Partner of Double M Partners in Los Angeles, which invests in the tech sector. "No matter where you are these days, Shanghai to Seattle, major fluctuations in the market will affect you if you are in tech."
Anne Glover, Chief Executive of Amadeus Capital Partners in London concurred that "no sector can withstand macro shock in the short term." She thinks that overall "tech stocks are stronger in operating performance and that will serve them well in the medium term." She also notes that private companies working in high growth niche markets will be affected differently from the public high-fliers - even as they are impacted by industry-jarring events.
The Big Tech Stocks Are Not Bellwethers for the Industry
"Apple's stock is down 21% from their all-time high and Netflix(NFLX) - Get Report is off 18%. The generals have retreated," said David Rosenberg, Chief Economist and Strategist at Gluskin Sheff and Associates, an independent Canadian wealth management firm. "Fear is palpable."
Like Apple(AAPL) - Get Report, Google(GOOG) - Get Report(GOOGL) - Get Reporttoo is down sharply from a price that virtually plateaued above $600 per share for most of the last month. Still, shares are towards the higher end of a range over the past six months. Microsoft(MSFT) - Get Report shares too have declined sharply from its high of $49.16 in April, but it too is closer to its 52-week high than its 52-week low.
In other words, the blue chip tech sector appears to have been riding a bit of hot air this summer that has now deflated somewhat, but this does not indicate calamity for them - or for the sector as a whole.
The Ride is Bumpy, but This is Just Turbulence
The impact of global markets on tech bottom lines is still in flux. Sixty-four percent of Apple's revenue last quarter came from overseas sales, with China accounting for nearly 25% of fiscal third-quarter revenues. As markets have questioned Apple's position in China, due to stock market volatility, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in an email sent to Jim Cramer wrote "Growth in iPhone activations has actually accelerated over the past few weeks, and we have had the best performance of the year for the App Store in China."
Beyond the Chinese currency devaluation last week as well as the historic drop on Monday, the Shanghai Composite index is down around 10% for the year - and up over 40% from where it was a year ago.
Tightening U.S. Money Supply
If the Fed starts to tightens the money supply in the U.S. by raising interest rates, this may slow start up tech investment and deal flow. According to Preqin.com, second quarter venture capital deals dropped 2% from the last quarter, even as the value of deals increased by 15%.
No matter when this happens, it will affect the tech market directly, especially in the amount of money being allocated to start-ups, though Mullen is not sure how directly or fast this will be affected. "Investment in start-ups is on a longer fuse," he said. Mullen also believes that "if this correction continues or goes sideways it will also affect IPO activity. The M&A activity that was going on will go on hold."
Glover believes however that even this will not affect the sector fundamentally and that "M&A activity might slow down, but deal flow is consistent."
Are There Lessons Here From The Last Tech Meltdown?
"Tech makes progress irrespective of what is happening in financial markets," said Glover. "People care about it, but it does not affect what they do."
Mullen too is fairly optimistic although he cautions that current market conditions are not "just like 2008". This is a correction," he said, "People were expecting something to happen most of the summer - and then it did."
Rosenberg believes that what is actually going on "is that a lot of people are getting hurt, are being forced to sell or are seeing margin calls, and it's in this sort of panic selling that the best buying opportunities are born." Still, Rosenberg is an optimist for the fall. "The U.S. economy is in fine shape and getting finer," he said. "Who would have ever thought that the broadest correction in four years took hold in the same week that Home Depot(HD) - Get Report , the poster child for U.S. housing-related activity not only beat Q2 views but raised 2015 guidance for the second time this year?"