This group of tech stocks is in a 'must-own industry,' Oppenheimer says

One slice of the tech space is outperforming.

The IGV tech-software sector ETF, which holds stocks such as and Oracle, is up more than 18 percent in 2019, better than the 15 percent gain on the broader XLK technology ETF.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, calls this group a "must-own industry" and says the IGV ETF is about to break out even more.

"The ETF has pushed right up into its 2018 highs at around $206. That's resistance. Aside from what could be a pause here, we think investors want to own this ETF ahead of what we think is going to be a breakout above this resistance level," said Wald.

The IGV ETF is less than 1 percent from breaking out above $206. It fell below that level last week.

"You have a bullish trend going into it. You can see that rising 200-day moving average. The ETF also scores well in our momentum ranks. That speaks to the relative leadership," Wald said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

Microsoft, which holds an 8 percent weighting in the IGV ETF, is an example of the type of software company likely to lead the group higher, according to Wald.

Wald said it is "also reversing its near-term downtrend and we think positioned to see a resumption of its long-term uptrend, so overall we think these high-growth companies continue to lead the S&P's secular advance in this low growth world."

The fundamentals of these software companies should continue to work in their favor, said Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global.

"One of the reasons it has done well is that it is a very profitable business. It has very high margins," Sanchez said on "Trading Nation" on Monday.

The software ETF has profit margins at 30 percent of total revenue, according to FactSet, higher than the 20 percent margins on the broader S&P 500.

"If you can get it right, it doesn't take a lot of extra effort to continue to sell thousands or even millions of licenses on a piece of software. It really just takes maintenance and continued maintenance," said Sanchez. "On the investor side, you're starting to see some fatigue but we're not seeing that in the pricing. The markets are still rewarding these companies."

The IGV ETF is just 2 percent from record highs. It has bounced 29 percent off its Christmas Eve lows.


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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 CNBCand 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.

Follow Michael Santoli on Twitter @michaelsantoli

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