Tumbling Tech a Problem for ETF Investors

Amid a spate of earnings miscues from marquee technology names, exchange traded funds (ETFs) such as the Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK) and broad market ETFs like the PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ), which tracks the tech heavy Nasdaq-100 Index, are struggling.

Last week, Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL) ended a 13-year earnings winning streak and reported its first ever decline in iPhone sales. That report came just days after Google parent Alphabet (NasdaqGS: GOOG) and Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT) lost a combined $30 billion in market value in a single day following disappointing earnings reports of their own.

Regarding Apple, investors have grown increasingly concerned over the company’s iPhone sales growth, especially with China experiencing an economic slowdown. ETF investors will also have to keep a close eye on AAPL as the company makes up double-digit weights in most broad tech-sector ETFs.

Tech ETFs face another problem: Weakness in semiconductor stocks. The semiconductor industry faces some headwinds. Research firm Gartner anticipates that worldwide shipments of personal computers, tablets and smartphones rose only modestly last year, which could cause chip sales to decline.

“Of course, not all tech companies are getting dumped by Wall Street. Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) both surged last week following their strong results. Those two stocks are also among the 10 most widely-held stocks by Openfolio users,” according to CNN Money.


Analysts have already lowered iPhone estimates in recent weeks, pointing to weakness from Apple suppliers and checks within the supply chain that indicate weak iPhone builds, reports Jennifer Booton for MarketWatch.