What's going on?
Investors have started to doubt tech companies as their stocks continue to scale new heights. Bets against tech have risen 40% so far this year (tweet this) – maybe all good things do come to an end.
What does this mean?
To bet against a company (a.k.a. “short” its stock), investors borrow shares from an existing shareholder (usually for a fee) and sell them in the market, hoping to buy them back at a lower price. The rise in so-called FAANG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google (owned by Alphabet) – has been extreme, driving half of the rally in the Nasdaq stock index this year. However, investors are starting to turn their backs on the Famous Five. They’ve shorted a gargantuan $37 billion of tech stocks, with Amazon making up $10 billion of this alone.
Why should I care?
For markets: Is it gonna go pop?
Some investors are worried about a dotcom-style tech bubble, like the one from the early 2000s. Although industries like retail are investing in tech (causing tech companies’ profits to keep growing), investors’ fears have been stoked by recent data privacy concerns (hi, Facebook) and fines from the European Union (yo, Google). In general, tech companies are still investing buckets of cash into dominating online – and offline, too (not all purchases happen on the web) – meaning profits are still relatively small. Or, in the case of some big Chinese tech companies, shrinking.
For you, personally: Investing’s risky business.
Shares in Swiss investment management firm GAM are down 45% this year – and they’re still being shorted. One of its managers was suspended for poor record keeping, which may have given some investors the willies – leading them to withdraw cash from the company (GAM gets paid a percentage on money it manages, so less money means less revenue). If you’re thinking of investing, make sure you research the asset and the manager you work with – otherwise things could all go Pete Tong.