As Internet shares break down, investors see value in old tech

Fri Apr 11, 2014 6:42pm EDT
 
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By Ryan Vlastelica

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The last six weeks have been terrible for many technology shares, but not for the four horsemen that sat atop the last tech boom.

Intel, Oracle, Microsoft and Cisco, known as the four horsemen during the late 1990s technology boom due to their strong performance and leading market share, have all rallied since the beginning of March even as stocks of many other tech companies have been crushed.

These legacy names have emerged as an alternative for those who want exposure to the tech sector but are spooked by the slump in high-growth stocks like Netflix.

These older names have recently attracted more attention because their growth outpaces the broader market but they don't have the high valuations of the recent momentum favorites.

"They have high cash levels, nice profit margins, and when the economy returns, their cyclicality will be a positive," said Robert Stimpson, portfolio manager at Oak Associates Ltd in Akron, Ohio.

"That they're trading at a discount makes them something of a defensive play," he added. "I'd rather own them than something like utilities, which pay a dividend but offer little or no growth."

GO WITH THE FLOW

The change in sentiment can be seen in fund flow figures. The First Trust Dow Jones Internet ETF has seen outflows of $43.86 million since the beginning of March, while the First Trust Nasdaq 100 Technology fund -- which counts Facebook as a holding but holds few other "momentum" names -- has seen inflows of $9.4 million over that same period, according to data from ETF.com.   Continued...

 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid