'It's too early to buy' tech stocks: Investor Paul Meeks warns that bottom isn't in yet

Investor Paul Meeks is avoiding the sector that made him famous on Wall Street.

Meeks, who's known for running the world's biggest tech fund for Merrill Lynch during the dot-com boom and subsequent collapse, sees more trouble ahead for the tech-dominated Nasdaq. He predicts it could be several weeks before it bottoms.

"It's too early to buy," he said Monday on CNBC' "Trading Nation." "What I would like to see is to get through the Christmas period. A lot of squirrelly things could happen between now and then, particularly investors realizing some capital losses."

The Nasdaq remains in correction territory and is off 2 percent this year. It's on track to see its worst quarter in a decade. Tech bellwethers such as Apple and Alphabet have plunged 27 percent and 15 percent, respectively, this quarter.

Despite the tech's rough end to 2018, Meeks sees few parallels between now and the early 2000s Nasdaq collapse.

"I get a lot of questions about how similar is this environment to that one. I actually think this one is much healthier," he said. "We will have a downside a bit more, but I would get prepared to buy some stocks. I don't think it's going to be anything like the obliteration that we saw in 2000, 2001 [and] 2002."

But right now, Meeks says most tech names are "uninvestable." His plan is to wait for the smoke to clear before he puts money back to work.

He believes the prognosis is solid for tech stocks next year — suggesting the group could begin its ascent in late January when quarterly earnings season begins.

"If they're bullish enough that might set the stage for the rally," Meeks said, adding 2019 will ultimately "be a time to go back into tech in a big way."

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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.

Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET). In addition, he contributes to CNBC and CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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