BlackRock equity chief backing tech
BlackRock is still bullish on tech stocks. While many investors have identified challenges in the sector after a lacklustre 2018 that saw the Nasdaq Composite Index's first annual decline in seven years, the world's largest money manager is staying the course on the long-term trend, according to its chief equity strategist Kate Moore.
"We're not giving up on technology," she said. "The tech sector is still a well-liked and well-loved sector across BlackRock."
Tech shares from the US to China have languished in the past year as trade tensions between the two nations and concerns over slowing economic growth have hit the sector. The NYSE FANG+ Index lost almost half a trillion dollars in value last year from the end of January.
Regulation and policy have also damped sentiment, with Facebook facing a number of controversies and the shock arrest of Huawei's finance chief.
Companies are absorbing those changes and willing to work in that environment, Moore said. Investors should look to own both US and Chinese tech stocks for diversity as they operate in different markets and have less overlap than often assumed, she added. Moore is hopeful ongoing trade talks will conclude with an agreement between the two nations to explore "opportunity for co-operation" in tech.
BlackRock's top call for the year is healthcare stocks for their increasing use of tech and innovation. Healthcare offers income, stability, defensiveness against a downturn too, Moore said.
On the broader trade tensions, Moore said that the issues were likely to hang over the markets for "years not quarters" but that equities could stabilise or see a floor if an agreement is reached. Still, much fear has already been priced into emerging markets equities and Moore reiterated an overweight call on the asset class. Many high-quality companies have been ignored by international investors, she said.
Moore maintained her underweight call on European equities in 2019, which she said would see a challenging year amid political challenges and a slower growth environment.