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Wall Street Beat: Despite sagging hardware sales, confidence in tech remains high

Marc Ferranti | March 10, 2014
Confidence in the underlying strength of the tech sector as a whole appears to be solid despite some dispiriting news on the hardware front.

Some market watchers worry that tech is again in a bubble, citing high valuations for IPOs and acquisitions. Facebook's announcement last month that it would acquire the text messaging company WhatsApp in a deal valued at US$19 billion stunned many analysts. For Twitter's IPO in November last year, the site's stock nearly doubled in value on its first day of trading, closing at $44.90. That valued the company at $31 billion — before it made a profit.

Nevertheless, many market analysts remain optimistic about tech's chances for further growth.

"Portfolio managers typically want exposure to growth, and when you scan the list of the top ten fastest revenue growth industries in the market in the next two years, Internet and catalog retail and Internet software and services are prominent among them," wrote Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Parker in a research note Monday. "Having some exposure to trends like big data and analytics, social, mobile, etc., does seem prudent."

Insiders at tech companies themselves appear fairly bullish, based on their hiring and expansion plans. Ninety-one percent of tech CFOs polled by BDO USA expect the number of employees at their companies to increase or remain the same in the coming year, according to survey data released this week.

Employers appear to be focused on hiring in several areas, including big data, cloud computing and data security, BDO noted in a statement. In addition, BDO cited U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that employment in all information technology fields is expected to increase by 22 percent by 2020.

"Although the overall U.S. employment market has been slow to recover, the technology industry has been a bright spot for employment opportunities, particularly in major U.S. technology hubs," said Aftab Jamil, leader of the Technology and Life Sciences practice at BDO, in a release. "As demand for the latest technology offerings remains strong, hiring wars will continue."

 

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