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Big Tech is set for a comeback, asset manager says, naming 2 stocks to get ahead of it


Tech stocks have endured a brutal year so far, but asset manager Patrick Armstrong believes investor interest in Big Tech could reignite next year. Armstrong, who is chief investment officer at wealth manager Plurimi Wealth, has put his money where his mouth is: his firm owns shares in Google parent Alphabet and Apple . “I do think Alphabet and Apple are [going to retain] their dominant market shares. I do think they have pricing power, but they are consumer-focused stocks and consumers are going to be in a little bit more of a difficult environment next year,” Armstrong told CNBC Pro Talks last week. Despite this, he said he expects these sorts of companies to generate returns of around 10% next year, “which will be attractive versus probably an index that is not going to do too much.” The stock market has been plagued by broad risk-off sentiment this year, as investors rotated out of growth stocks amid soaring inflation, interest rate hikes and other headwinds that have left investors clamoring for safer bets. Tech stocks have borne the brunt of this carnage, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite down around 30% this year. And Big Tech has not been spared either; shares in Alphabet are down 32% this year, while Apple has lost about 18% of its market cap in the same period. Tech stocks have pared some losses since hitting their lows, but investor confidence in the sector remains shaky amid several bouts of bear market rallies that fizzled out quickly. But Armstrong, whose Plurimi AI Global Equity Strategy fund beat the MSCI World index to rise 8.2% in October, has a more optimistic take. ‘Everyone wants to own’ Big Tech “Going into year-end, I think Big Tech as a whole is going to see investors allocating to it. I do think there will be a tailwind from flows that everyone wants to own the big-cap tech companies going into next year. So, I wouldn’t want to bet against any of them in the next month,” he said. Within the space, he expects Apple’s share price to trend higher in the next 12 months, driven by earnings growth. “I think high single-digit, low double-digit returns for Apple, I’ll be comfortable with that. They are not going to slow down their share buybacks, which will help the [earnings per share] numbers as well,” Armstrong added. He is not the only one who’s bullish on Apple. Some 74% of analysts covering the stock rate it a buy and give the stock average potential upside of 18.6%, according to FactSet data. Alphabet is even more highly rated by analysts. Over 90% of analysts covering the stock have a buy rating on it, and they give the stock average potential upside of 28.9%.

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