Tech is under fire, but the charts don't point to disaster quite yet: Strategist

The recent tech takedown has put four-fifths of the Nasdaq 100 in correction territory or worse. But, one strategist says the tech wreck is not as bad as it seems.

"As much as this decline has been scary, at least somewhat scary, we have to realize too that it really hasn't done any technical damage," Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Tuesday.

The Nasdaq 100, or NDX, has held above several key support levels, says Maley. Even after this year's sell-offs, it remains above its two-year trendline dating back to early 2016 lows. While it has fallen below its 100-day moving average, the tech-heavy index has largely held above its 200-day. It remains around 2.5 percent above that support level even as it took another leg lower on Wednesday.

"I don't see a repeat of 2000," he said. "Even though we could see more downside, we certainly don't see a disaster."

One point of concern for Maley is that the stocks propping the tech sector up are few and concentrated.

"On the days that we see the bounces in the NDX, or in the tech group, the breadth on the NDX is so much better than it is on the broad Nasdaq index," he explained. "Just a small number of stocks are kind of taking the group higher on the big up days, and on the down days they all kind of go down together."

Around 15 percent of the Nasdaq 100 has posted double-digit gains this year, while nearly 20 percent of the broader Nasdaq is up at least 10 percent. Netflix and Seagate Technology have led the Nasdaq 100 with gains of more than 35 percent so far this year.

With uncertainty ahead and valuations still high, expect for this sector to continue to struggle, says Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global.

"This is the classic case of having a vulnerability and a catalyst," Sanchez told "Trading Nation." "The vulnerability was that these were very highly priced stocks. … The catalyst ended up really being Facebook and the threat of regulation."

The tech sector has been victim to wild swings since mid-March when the fears over investigations and government restrictions slammed Facebook. Those worries over a regulated Facebook then bled into other social media and tech companies' stock performances. Amazon has also been victim to fear-related selling after President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on the e-commerce company.

"The market does not like uncertainty, so you have very high valuations and a new uncertainty that wasn't there before," said Sanchez. "We could actually see a bit more come off the market before we're back and calling this cheap."

Valuations on the NDX have retreated to 19.4 times forward earnings after hitting a multiyear peak of a 22.15 times multiple in January. The S&P 500 currently trades at 16 times earnings.

The Nasdaq 100 has already dropped 2 percent so far this month, piling on top of a 4 percent decrease in March. Last month marked its worst performance since January 2016.

Vote
Vote to see results
Total Votes:

Not a Scientific Survey. Results may not total 100% due to rounding.

Videos

Trades to Watch

Trader Bios

About

Trading Nation is a multimedia financial news program that shows investors and traders how to use the news of the day to their advantage. This is where experts from across the financial world – including macro strategists, technical analysts, stock-pickers, and traders who specialize in options, currencies, and fixed income – come together to find the best ways to capitalize on recent developments in the market. Trading Nation: Where headlines become opportunities.

Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

Read more

Connect