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Consider hiding out in these tech stocks during a bear market, Bernstein says

With the Nasdaq Composite down 30% from its highs and deep in bear market territory, investors are finding no comfort in the technology sector. Yet amid this painful market backdrop, there are some areas within the downtrodden sector where investors can still find safety, according to Bernstein. “Tech’s overall valuation is now approaching its historical relative multiple, pointing to more limited risk of tech continuing to underperform,” wrote analyst Toni Sacconaghi. “Moreover, valuations of the most expensive tech stocks are currently in line with historical levels, and are actually trading below historical relative mean levels.” Markets have hit sell-off mode in recent months as inflation reached 40-year highs, the Federal Reserve lifted interest rates and recession fears grew. All major S & P 500 sectors have fallen at least 9% from their peaks, with information technology and communication services down more than 26%. Technology stocks dominate the most battered names, forcing the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index further into bear market territory. Major tech stocks including Netflix and Meta Platforms have plummeted roughly 74% and 57% from their highs while Amazon has cratered 42%. The phenomenon isn’t new. “Across the 10 periods where the broader market has declined 10%+ since 2000, tech’s average annualized return has been -44%, while the broader market’s has been -33%,” Sacconaghi said. “Across all the drawdowns, the most expensive quintile of tech stocks underperformed most, while the least expensive fared best.” Here are some areas where investors should consider hiding during this bear market, according to Bernstein. Apple ‘s stock has fallen roughly 24% from its peak but could rally 20% from Monday’s close based on Bernstein’s $170 price target. In 2021, the stock traded at an adjusted P/E of 25.3 times, with an expected P/E of 22.8 for 2022, according to Bernstein. Dell and IBM could also prove bright spots. Both companies are trading at low valuations — seven to 10 times earnings per share — and many computer hardware stocks boast strong corporate demand and high backlogs on a historic basis, Sacconaghi said. Shares of Dell are trading down 12% on the year and are more than 19% off their peaks. Bernstein’s price target and Dell’s recent close price imply a 43% potential upside for the stock. Meanwhile, IBM’s stock is up nearly 7% in 2022 and could gain almost 2%, based on Bernstein’s price target. Hewlett Packard Enterprise also made the Bernstein list, after its shares fell more than 11% this year.

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