Dalian - World Economic Forum

Tech companies have more substance now versus the dotcom boom: Barings CEO

Key Points
  • Tech stocks have more substance now compared to the dotcom boom, says Thomas Finke, chairman and CEO of investment firm Barings.
  • Business models of companies such as Amazon can be hard to value, Finke said, who agreed that FANG stocks could climb further.
  • Barings likes equities in emerging markets, still constructive on the U.S. despite Trump.
Source: CNBC

Technology companies, whose recent share volatility has captured much attention worldwide, have "more substance" now compared with the dotcom boom, the chief executive of a global investment firm said.

Thomas Finke, chairman and CEO of Barings, told CNBC at the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Dalian, China that companies such as Amazon are redefining the way customers are engaged and business are run — factors that investor find difficulty placing a value on.

"That model is hard to value. It's similar to the dotcom boom but there's more substance now. During the dotcom boom, you had companies created and people thought: 'oh, it could go to the moon'," Finke said on Wednesday.

"The reality is: now there're more tangible companies like Amazon that are actually selling and generating revenues, but they're reinvesting in very different ways than traditional companies. And that's why it's hard to put a cap on it."

High growth tech stocks — led by Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, collectively described by the acronym FANG — have rallied sharply this year, leaving some investors concerned over the sustainability of those gains.

Finke said he agrees with the view that there is still value in FANG stocks, but volatility would still persist with "periods where you'll see tech sell-offs."

He added that Barings, with close to $300 billion assets under management, has turned more optimistic on emerging markets and has increased its equities allocation there, especially to Asia. The company is also "still fairly constructive" on the U.S..

"Could there be a correction based on disappointment with the Trump administration undoing some of the bump? Sure, but we're probably seeing that as buying opportunity for good value credits," he said.