Tech is hot to trot right now. Last night (9 Aug) Nasdaq closed at an all-time record 5,225.48, ripping apart the mindset that the 5,000-odd peaks of the technology halcyon days of early 2000's dotcom boom were really that. There's good reason why. Many of the world's biggest tech names, and Nasdaq's key movers and shakers, are going great guns – Amazon (AMZN:NDQ), Apple (AAPL;NDQ), Google parent Alphabet (GOOG:NDQ), Facebook (FB:NDQ), Microsoft (MSFT:NDQ).
All of the above, bar Apple, are trading at record highs themselves thanks to stellar, forecast-thumping, most recent quarterly figures.
But it is not just our American cousins surfing this bulging wave. Many UK investors own stakes in the above Nasdaq-listed companies, and others, either directly or indirectly. As the TechMarketViews IT analysis website founder, Richard Holway, points out, UK investors will have done even better, recently at least, given the pound's slump versus the dollar.
But there's more to it than that.
Even the UK stock market's measures of tech success – the FTSE All Share Software and Technology Hardware sectors are roaring. As the first chart shows, in relative terms, both have outstripped Nasdaq over the past five years, Technology Hardware substantially, albeit thanks to the ARM (ARM) takeover.
The key UK benchmark FTSE 100 opens today flat at roughly 6,845, having closed on Tuesday evening at 6,851. To suggest 7,000 was within reach just a few months ago would possibly have involved concerned calls by friends and relatives to men in white coats.
Of course, many of the UK's leading index constituents are big overseas traders and are thus equally milking the stronger earnings abroad versus lower relative costs at home, but in the tech space there's again more to it. Tech M&A is going gangbusters.
'All the indications are that tech M&A – already white hot – will getter hotter,' states Holway. 'The smaller SaaS players will become major targets for those bigger, previously on-premise, players,' he says but anything UK tech that nods to any number of emerging trends – cloud, mobile, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), internet of things (IoT), autotech, fintech – are potential targets, especially for overseas giants with far deeper pockets.
But can it last? Holways worries that the answer is no.
'Far from the feeling of confidence I usually get when my investments do well, I have a growing feeling of unease,' he says. 'Bull runs like this must end and confidence will quickly evaporate. There are just too many worrying problems both globally and, in particular in the UK.'