By Ed Oswald | Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 12:01 pm
There was a time when the market first became wobbly last year that market watchers commented on how well the technology sector was holding up: that time has come and gone. With Wall Street in a tailspin, tech stocks are no longer enjoying the immunity to the market’s problems. From Redmond to Cupertino, and Sunnyvale to Armonk, the pain is beginning to spread.
In fact, some are seeing years of progress wiped out as investors head for the hills. Among the top five tech stocks (in terms of market capitalization), all are down significantly, with most trading quite close to 52-week lows and in some cases multi-year lows.
Microsoft, the largest technology company, has seen its stock fall nearly 21 percent year-over-year as of Tuesday. This is especially frustrating for the company’s shareholders considering the stock saw an impressive run towards the end of 2007 where the stock peaked at $37.50 a share in early November. Since then, the stock has taken a precipitous decline, losing a third of its value and falling back to the levels it has been stuck near for much of the decade.
#2 IBM is also down 18.5 percent, and so is #5 Hewlett Packard, which has fallen nearly 23 percent during the pas year. The biggest drops among the tech heavyweights are Cisco and Google, both falling by more than a third.
Cisco, third in market cap, has seen its stock fall more than 40 percent. The stock is now at its lowest point since August 2006, and the stock hit its 52-week low on Tuesday. Fourth place Google has not fared much better, down 42 percent and hitting a also hitting 52-week lows.
As we move onto notable companies outside the top five, the news isn’t any better. Apple has gotten mauled as investors worry about slowing consumer spending, it’s down about 45 percent and at a 18-month low. Yahoo has taken a beating as uncertainty over its future is just not something that is a good thing in this market — down 47 percent there, and at a five-year low.
Other poor performers include SAP, down 33 percent; Research in Motion and Dell, both down about 47%; and eBay, down 54 percent. All in all, this market’s brutal to say the least.
There is some solace. Tech stocks for the most part should not see as steep declines as their traditional market brethren due to less exposure to the credit crisis than most. While yes, it would affect those companies with less-than-sanguine financials, most should make it through with modest losses.
However, in a recessionary environment, there is downward pressure on just about all stocks. With so much of the industry having exposure to the consumer, as they spend less and less revenues will decrease, and thus will cause the stock prices to decline.
Like with any bear market, the best thing to do is have a long-term strategy. If you’re looking for a quick buck, this isn’t the market for you, and probably won’t be for months if not years. Even so, in what many analysts see as an “oversold” market, there are some bargains out there.