So, the FAMAG names (Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google) have a market worth at the moment twice the Topix index (the whole of the Japanese stock market). In 1989, thirty-two of the biggest fifty stocks in the world were Japanese.
The US is now around two-thirds of the value of all global stocks and Japan 8%. At its worst, Japan fell 82% from that peak, twenty years later. Now, you either believe the latest US tech model is here for ever or a big crash in the US could be on the cards. Remember too that Sony was one of those companies so ‘tech’ is not new – over 100million ‘Walkmans’ had been sold… are they different to Apple’s products? And remember the new phenomenon now too – ‘cheap’ index-tracking, passive funds. If that’s what you have, most are ‘weighted’ to the same big stocks so you are full of the same stuff.
We aren’t there and in some respects are the exact opposite – for two reasons. The first is simple; we believe these tech stocks are excessively overpriced and whilst a drop of 82% is not expected, a significant awakening is well overdue, so we don’t want to be caught in that. The second is easy – there are so many ‘value’ stocks which the trendies are not holding and at such cheap prices that we can hold those instead, so then two factors come to play. The first – they aren’t over-priced by any stretch of the imagination and therefore are more closely aligned to their assets and trading values and secondly – many of these could easily double over the next few years whilst the expensive stuff halves – maybe extreme analogies but you see the point. I am often told the concept of ‘disruptive industries’ to justify vast valuations for this stuff but a colossal reduction in Tech shares would be very disruptive and the zealots of the theme don’t seem to have allowed for that.