US tech sector now decently undervalued

-- | 14/04/2020

Page 1 of 1

Brian Colello: Looking at technology as of March 26, the U.S. Technology index over the past year is still up 11 per cent. Meanwhile, the equity market is down 6 per cent. If we look at both markets on a year-to-date basis, since Jan. 1, tech is down only 10 per cent, whereas the equity market is down 19 per cent, again as of March 26.

Looking at the media and tech stock, we think the median is 13 per cent undervalued on a price to fair value basis. Hardware stocks within technology are down 16 per cent, software is down 14 per cent, and semiconductors are 8 per cent below our fair value estimate, again, on a median basis. Now, a quarter ago, the median tech stock was 7 per cent overvalued, and we saw no attractive sectors within technology. So in our view, technology has shifted from being modestly overvalued to decently undervalued, especially for investors that have a long-term time horizon.

We like wide-moat names like Microsoft (MSFT), Salesforce (CRM), ServiceNow (NOW), and Tyler Technologies (TYL). All have wide moats. All have very sticky customer bases. And revenue is on a subscription basis and recurring, so there shouldn't be too many interruptions to existing users as they shift to working remotely, and a good portion of this revenue is on a deferred revenue basis, so there's good visibility. Cybersecurity is another area we like, names like Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Okta (OKTA), and CrowdStrike (CRWD). They also have recurring revenue similar to these software names, but also their security solutions are becoming more and more important as employees work remotely.

For earnings ahead, all eyes will naturally be on COVID-19 and the demand outlook for technology. Many companies have pulled guidance. Few have actually provided updated guidance into the June quarter. There's very little visibility as you can imagine. But looking at a company like Micron, which reported a couple of weeks ago, data center demand still appears to be strong, PC demand actually seems decent as people prepare to work remotely, and smartphone demand is a bit softer, but there's still anticipation of a bounceback later in the year.

Looking at the automotive sector, that's probably the one area of weakness within technology because a lot of sensors and semiconductors go in there. Car sales in the month of March in the U.S. were down over 30 per cent for firms like Toyota and Volkswagen, so we'll see how bad the headwinds are in the coming weeks for automotive chip demand and sensor demand.

 

This report appeared on www.morningstar.com.au 2021 Morningstar Australasia Pty Limited

© 2021 Morningstar, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither Morningstar, its affiliates, nor the content providers guarantee the data or content contained herein to be accurate, complete or timely nor will they have any liability for its use or distribution. This information is to be used for personal, non-commercial purposes only. No reproduction is permitted without the prior written content of Morningstar. Any general advice or 'class service' have been prepared by Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd (ABN: 95 090 665 544, AFSL: 240892), or its Authorised Representatives, and/or Morningstar Research Ltd, subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc, without reference to your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information at www.morningstar.com.au/s/fsg.pdf. Our publications, ratings and products should be viewed as an additional investment resource, not as your sole source of information. Past performance does not necessarily indicate a financial product's future performance. To obtain advice tailored to your situation, contact a licensed financial adviser. Some material is copyright and published under licence from ASX Operations Pty Ltd ACN 004 523 782 ("ASXO"). The article is current as at date of publication.