Coronavirus could spark a 20% tech pullback, investor Paul Meeks warns

Coronavirus could spark a 20% tech pullback, investor Paul Meeks warns

Investor Paul Meeks is bracing for a bear market in technology.

Meeks, who’s known for running the world’s largest tech fund during the dot-com boom, sees 20% pullback risks growing as the coronavirus outbreak spreads.

“There is some comeuppance due, and unfortunately I think the coronavirus is that exogenous variable that is a catalyst to take some of these stocks down,” the portfolio manager at Independent Solutions Wealth Management told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Friday.

The major indexes ended the week meaningfully lower after a series of new coronavirus cases sparked fresh concerns over a global economic slowdown. Tech stocks led Friday’s sell-off. The Nasdaq had its worst daily performance since last month.

Meeks, who has been avoiding the space, suggests Friday’s activity may be the tip of the iceberg.

If the outbreak isn’t contained soon, Meeks believes the next serious tech sell-off could be longer and deeper than his original prediction almost a year ago. 

Last April, he warned on “Trading Nation” the tech rally had gone too far, too fast and he has been singling out Apple. He still owns the iPhone maker’s stock, but as an underweight.

“Apple is grossly overvalued,” said Meeks, who has $700 million in assets under management.

Meeks may have a discouraging forecast, but he’s not predicting a recession.

“The fundamentals are strong in tech,” he added. “They are stronger relative to the rest of the sectors within the economy.”

‘I’d be buying with both hands’

If big tech has a dramatic drop similar to the fourth quarter of 2018, Meeks indicated he’d head back to the group that made him famous.

“I’d be buying with both hands,” he said.

Meeks would target semiconductors, particularly Lam Research, Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, Micron and Applied Materials.

“I’m most bullish on the semiconductor and semiconductor capital equipment companies,” Meeks said. “You’ve had some companies that have already reported their results. So, we have some clean and fresh data.”

Disclosures: Paul Meeks owns shares of Apple, Lam Research, Nvidia, Advanced Micro Devices, Micron and Applied Materials.

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